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Health, housing and adult social services

Telly shows up Ealing Hospital

Ealing Hospital.jpg

Both the Ealing Gazette and Ealing Times covered the “How clean is your hospital?” show with Kim and Aggie this Friday. I did not get a chance to see the show but some of the coverage makes you think.

I am not surprised that they found some big problems in such a large and complex building with so many staff. Even in a small building you can find some reall horrors lurking in corners. What really worried me was the systematic lack of hand hygiene.

Apparently it was revealed by secret cameras, placed in the hospital over one weekend, that 55 per cent of nurses and 93 per cent of doctors did not use hand gels when entering wards, something which is designed to reduce the spread of infection. I cannot believe the arrogance of these doctors who almost all refuse to observe this basic precaution. The nurses seem to be not much better. Until the leaders of this organisation get out on the wards and pull up the senior staff in front of their colleagues for hygiene breaches there will be no real improvement.

Fiona Wise, the chief executive of Ealing Hospital, give the impression of being complacent and out of touch. She said: “I think the hospital is broadly clean but there are areas that are not, due to a number of factors. It is impossible to achieve 100 per cent cleanliness 24-7, because people do abuse the hospital, but NHS cleaning standards are reached and are maintained rigorously.”

Mrs Wise went on to say: “I am not trying to defend the fact that more than half my staff don’t wash their hands. We are not perfect but it is very difficult to be perfect 24 hours a day.” Umm. I think that doctors ignoring hand washing almost entirely and half of nurses too is a bit beyond “not perfect”. It is deeply crap.

The hospital’s medical director, Dr Bill Lynn, said: “We have been criticised on TV before for cleanliness on our wards and have been making a massive effort to improve cleanliness throughout the hospital. An action plan has been put in place and many of the issues raised in the programme were already, or have since, been addressed.” Less action plans and more rapping senior doctors over the knuckles is required I think.