Saturday, 30 May 2009

Scottish health staff 'too busy' to wash hands

A SENIOR Lothian health official has suggested some hospital staff are simply too busy to wash their hands.

NHS Lothian Health Board vice-chairman Eddie Egan was speaking as it emerged that in certain departments, almost a quarter of staff are failing to wash their hands regularly.

The simple hygiene measure is seen as a key tool in the fight against superbugs.
I reckon they may have a point here.

New figures show that while some Lothian departments hit 98 per cent "compliance" with handwashing, others were as low as 77 per cent. At the same time, board members were told, cases of the potentially fatal C.difficile bug have gone up in the last month.
Well, frontline staff being pressured by overwork might well result in such a problem.

Perhaps some in the NHS, employed in feet-on-the-desk admin jobs, should look very closely at themselves.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon has demanded a "zero tolerance" approach towards handwashing compliance, though Dr Swainson said at the meeting: "I don't think we've fully worked out what zero tolerance means, but if you work for the NHS you are expected to follow our procedures, and this one particularly, to the letter."
Sturgeon orders more regulation, the medical director doesn't know what it means. Meanwhile ...

Handwashing compliance is monitored randomly by surveillance teams, who compile results from various departments across a range of time frames.
Just a thought, but why not employ more nurses instead of f***ing surveillance teams, and how about the medical director spending more time talking to the Health Secretary to ascertain what she is actually talking about?

Board members were told that in April there were 87 cases of C.diff, up from 72 in March and 59 February – which was the lowest number in five years.
Meanwhile, the percentage of NHS staff not tasked with treating patients spirals upwards. According to Private Eye (#1236 page 27).

In the old NHS days, administrative costs were no more than 5 percent of its annual budget. By the mid-90s they accounted for 12 percent. With subsequent wholesale market-based measures such as payments by results, patient choice and self-governing foundation trusts, coupled with the costs of management consultants, private finance initiatives, independent treatment centres etc, administrative costs have soared to 20 percent of the budget - about £20bn a year.
So how about having less talk about targets and more about nurses being able to do the job. More staff would, I dunno, help in that regard?

The will has to be there though, and it doesn't appear evident judging from the 'happy ending' in the linked article.

Despite the rise, bosses said it was still lower than the Scottish average, and that the health board is well on target to meet Scottish government targets when they come into play in 2011.
Source: The Scotsman

4 comments:

Henry North London said...

More staff Are you joking That costs money on a recurring basis

Surveillance teams are just one time employees and we can get rid of their cost because its a one off

NHS managers suck

JuliaM said...

"...Despite the rise, bosses said it was still lower than the Scottish average, and that the health board is well on target to meet Scottish government targets.."

And as we all know, that's all that matters..

Robert said...

I'm disabled after an accident, it was not the accident that made me disabled I caught MRSA on three different occasions the last they said we are taking your legs, I refused saying they stay with me, I nearly died but I've still got my legs sadly they do not work anymore.

North Northwester said...

"the health board is well on target to meet Scottish government targets when they come into play in 2011."

And I'm well on target towards paying my taxes to support this NHS of yours.

I imagine by 2011 I'll be perfectly positioned to actually fork out some cash to pay for it, right?
Oh, wait. I've already paid for it.
Must be something wrong with my tagetting strategy, I guess..