Friday, 8 February 2013

Scottish NHS - MRSA Cases Down By 81.5%

Today's Anti-SNP article in the Herald is laughable.

Alex Neil, the Scottish Health Secretary, was visiting the new Royal Victoria Building in Edinburgh when photographers asked him to sit on a bed for a photocell.  According to Mr Neil, who is aware of visitor protocols, he was told to go ahead because the bedding was due to be changed immediately after his visit.

However, Jackson Carlaw, the Tory deputy leader, at yesterday's FMQs, said the following:

"The First Minister, I wonder, would he respond to the following that I received this morning: 'As a nurse, I was rather disgusted to see the Scottish health minister park his backside on a patient's bed while opening a new hospital and wittering on about infection control.'

If (yes I said if) that nurse was present then she wasn't paying attention because I doubt if anyone of Alex Neil's age - or mine - would sit on a patient's bed without being given the go-ahead.  We are of the generation which knows that adhering to visiting times is important for patient recovery, that washing hands is essential, that two visitors at a time is enough - sometimes too much - for patients and that sitting on beds is taboo. When I was visiting a neighbour in hospital just before Christmas, one patient had six visitors (two of them children) and most sat on the bed as there was only one chair available. The nursing staff said nothing.

The NHS offers guidance to people visiting someone in hospital:

Under the heading "What not to do when visiting someone in hospital", the first piece of guidance states: "It's best not to sit on the patient's bed as this can spread germs. Use the chairs provided."

Why are we now so stuck in this 'guidance' culture?  The NHS should be instructing hospital visitors and if they did so then they may just find that infections fall even further.  

The reason for Alex Neil's visit was to publicise the new building's design of single rooms throughout, which it is hoped will reduce the risk of healthcare associated infections (HAIs).  When were HAIs changed from Hospital Acquired Infections?

The poor journalism proffers a measly two lines to the massive reduction of 81.5% of cases of MRSA in the last seven years since the SNP took office.  The Herald should be publicising that fact and not worrying about Alex Neil having his photograph taken sitting on an unclean bed.



JRB said...

Please, let us be a little less partisan on these recent events and a little more accurate.

On Mr Neil
The Scottish Government released a statement after the incident - Mr Neil spotted his error immediately, and the sheets were quickly changed. (my emphasis) This was not some pre-arranged, anticipated or staged gesture this was – ‘his error’.
In addition Mr Salmond was also obliged to comment to the chamber that standards had not been met.

On Single Rooms
The move to have all patients in single rooms has not met with universal acceptance.
Some eminent clinicians, amongst them Professor Chris Isles and consultant Dr John Womersley, believe that having only single rooms will leave patients isolated and hinder their recovery as well as add millions to hospital running costs.

On Hospital Acquired Infections
Cleanliness in Scottish hospitals should be the norm.
Improvements in the efforts to achieve that norm, does not warrant any publicity.
For any political party to seek such publicity based on what improvements have been made is petty and disingenuous.
As Susan Brimelow Chief Inspector of Healthcare Improvement Scotland said in the Report - There is still, however, more that can be done to benefit patients across Scotland

Clarinda said...

Subrosa - I wouldn't even grace this toot with being "anti-SNP" which should at least demonstrate some respect for cogent argument.

The daft level of confabulation and unverifiable sources (nurse?) demonstrates the increasing levels of paranoia and decreasing levels of journalism in much of the Scottish MSM leaving no other option other than barrel scraping and deceit. Challenging debate and intelligent enquiry appears to have deserted once trusted sources and I am at a loss as to why these media organs think the population fall for their puerile newspeak.

Anonymous said...

This kind of journalism is cheap and it's nasty, but I think it will come back and bite them on the bum.

It is so petty that only the least intelligent and least thinking people will be taken in by it.

They are almost certainly the people who will either not vote in the referendum, or who will already have decided one way or the other.

Tawdry ploys like those demonstrated by Question Time and Dumbleby last night, or the ignoble baron of Cumnock, making accusations in a house of parliament, and then refusing to carry them through with "I'll tell you later" like a silly schoolboy, and being allowed by their presiding officer to get away with it, won't impress the thinking person. And that is who we have to persuade, because he or she is still weighing up the pros and cons of the future of the country.

Frankly if I were in this on the other side, I'd be embarrassed by the paucity of the campaign being run by Alistair Darling with money from the S.E. England Tories.

14,000 Treaties to renegotiate. What rubbish. Have you seen what they consist of? It's a brilliant piece for a headline, but like everything else Willie Rennie says, it has no body beneath the froth. Most of the treaties turn out to be things that related to the empire and the colonies, but have never been binned. Why we would need to renegotiate the likes of this

Exchange of Notes between His Majestys (sic) Government in the United Kingdom and the Belgian Government in regard to the Delimitation of the Boundary between Northern Rhodesia and the Belgian Congo

Treaty Type


Place Of Signature


Date Of Signature

3 May 1927 beyond my comprehension. Neither of these countries exist and any boundary between them is none of Scotland's business.

I'd also like to know why, in this campaign of three people... Alistair Darling, Charlie Kennedy and Annabel Goldie, only Alistair Darling has made any appearance. Have the Tories and the Liberals given up?

Well done to the Scottish Health Department for getting to grips with MRSA.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

The Herald supports the Union because by doing so it supports the hegemony of Labour.

In print form it has two saving graces, the quality of a few of its columnists and the more balanced approach of its editorials. On the otherhand its reportage is on par with the Daily Mail but with less pictures and less spread.

On line it has three trolls, one of whom I believe is genuine, the other two is supposedly a character from the West Midlands, while the other declares his status by an OBE. Both, if they exist, are Mc's of the first order, other than their their ability to entice the independent camp to hit the send button in rebuttal of their, generally, inane comments.

Of course it is not entirely implausible that a struggling rag
would 'create' these provocateurs in order to boost their income stream,but if they do it's just another push on the slipping wedge of journalism.

pa_broon74 said...

I don't think any one (and its mentioned in the herald article) is saying hospital cleanliness is a done deal and it is disingenuous by extension to suggest it is even attainable. With the kind of new strains of MRSA popping up; its impossible for a hospital to be 100% clean, there-for the improvement should be noted.

I don't know if Alex Neil was told he could or couldn't sit on the bed, but the language deployed is is hysterical; disgusting? Really? If he'd defecated on the bed then definitely, but sitting on it? No, bad practice maybe but not disgusting.

On single occupancy. I see this from three angles, as a visitor, from the patient's side and from the staff view. They 'debated' this on the execrable Call Kaye last week, to a one, each nurse that called in to deride the idea of single rooms was retired, the best that could be said was that some had retired recently. Technology now means, nurses don't have to sit over beds or even be in the same room. Hardly any of the respondents realised that these rooms have windows.

For the patient its a matter of preference, new build hospitals tend to have a mix, I'd say maybe 60% single 40% 4/6 bed wards. You can argue that till your blue in the face, I know my dad snores like a drain, I couldn't share a room with him but he prefers a ward, to everyone else's cost.

Finally from the technical equipping point of view, it makes no difference, single rooms are as easy to equip and outfit as wards and from an HAI pov much safer. Hospital staff/technical cross over, modern trained staff prefer it.

I've seen the level of care that goes on in so called Nightingale Wards, like Call Kaye's radio show, some of it is also execrable.

Demetrius said...

How did this story leak? Was the bed bugged?

Dramfineday said...

Demetrius as Homer Simpson might have said - Doh!

Meantime the moral of the story - watch where you park your bahookie, who knows where it has been - oh er.

Apogee said...

Hi SR. JRB in his comment refers to single rooms.

"On Single Rooms
The move to have all patients in single rooms has not met with universal acceptance.
Some eminent clinicians, amongst them Professor Chris Isles and consultant Dr John Womersley, believe that having only single rooms will leave patients isolated and hinder their recovery as well as add millions to hospital running costs."
Having experienced the single room
hospital within the last year,it was an experience much better than
a 20 bed ward, 50 years ago. I didn't feel isolated in any way, I appreciated the peace and quiet and felt that the care was better.I am also of the opinion that separation of patients is a big plus for cleanliness and hygene. I have to wonder if the gentlemen mentioned have ever experienced multiple occupancy wards as a seriously ill patient, or is their thoughts coloured mainly by the extra hospital costs. I wonder how many of the recent examples of wards having to be closed due to infectious diseases would not have happened if patients were kept well separated in single rooms.

subrosa said...

My apology JRB, I took the statement from the SG spokesperson to be true.

I'm afraid the opinion of these eminent medics isn't what I hear. When I was admitted with c.diff (before it was diagnosed) I shared a room with 5 other women - 2 seriously ill after major surgery.

It was only pure good fortune and perhaps my awareness of being scrupulous is my own person hygiene within the one shared facilities, that nobody became infected from me.

I was moved to a single room for infection reasons and found it peaceful, comfortable and a pleasure to have my own toilet and bathing facilities. Socially I wasn't cut off as passers-by could stand at the door and chat.

Maybe it's much more expensive but the likes of Switzerland and Germany have had single room wards for many years and their infection levels have been far below ours.

subrosa said...

Unfortunately some do fall for this standard of journalism Clarinda. Perhaps more than we realise.

subrosa said...

The Tories et al will be called as reinforcements when Ally think they're needed Tris. Their interest is non-existent so they will need some cajoling.

subrosa said...

Sadly the Herald seems to be going down the Scotsman's road Crinkly. Any tagline for a sale.

subrosa said...

Our hospitals still aren't as clean as they were 50 years ago pa_broon. It's time the cleaning was controlled from in house.

Interesting to read the staff prefer single rooms now that they have the technology to monitor patients remotely.

subrosa said...

A nurse told the deputy of the Scottish tories Demetrius.

Ooops, must rush. Need to snap that pig flying past the window.

subrosa said...

Strange how nursing staff don;t complain about bags, handbags etc being dumped on beds.

Handbags are put down on all types of floors yet people put them on beds.

Our backsides (clothed of course) are quite probably much cleaner than the base of any woman's handbag or a supermarket carrier bag.

subrosa said...

Hi Apogee. That was my experience too and when I was in the multiple occupancy room I did feel very sorry for the two women who were very ill.

Another, who had a suspected ulcer, had visitors morning, noon and night and nothing was said. They even came during the 'rest hour' after what was called lunch.

Clarinda said...

'Foreign' hospitals that have single rooms will have a much higher patient/Registered Nurse ratio and probably have larger 'step-down'(clinically graduated) bed systems for clinical care patient 'throughput'.
We only have general wards (many are of course specialised eg ortho)small High Dependency units and smaller Intensive Care units - but not in every hospital. Not all patients are electronically monitored in single rooms and this accomodation can afford invisibility rather than privacy! I sometimes wish we could bring back the old convalescent hospitals for those who still require low dependency medical and nursing care and rehab - leaving the acute services to concentrate on those who need direct clinical intervention and care. Same Day surgical and clinical investigation units speed diagnosis and treatment without unnecessary overnight stays so that wards can concentrate on real 24 hr clinical need. However, the pressure and demands of an increasingly elderly, frail and chronically ill population are not always best met in the newer acute hospital care systems.
We are lucky with the Scottish NHS - I hope it returns to be the SHS one day - as being smaller it is more pro and effectively re-active. It tends to have less staffing problems than England although never complacent we are fortunate to have had recent Health Secretaries who are seen to be responsible and accountable - apart from the odd bottom out of place moment!
When deciding nursing numbers - it must never now rely purely on patient numbers but must include the layout and accomodation design of individual hospitals.

JRB said...

Thanks @Clarinda, your post puts across the pro’s and con’s of the issue of single rooms so very well

As @Clarinda comments, I am that increasingly elderly, frail and chronically ill population and for my sins have become all to familiar with the inside of my local hospital.
Certainly for me, the single ward can so easily be either a blessing or a curse, which ties in with the acute or chronic phase of the condition.
What I will say is that the sound of another human voice does much to lift ones feeling of wellbeing and aids recovery.

subrosa said...

Excellent comments Clarinda. My experience of Swiss and German hospitals was in the 70s and I would say the staff ratio was similar to what we had here in those days. However, thinking about it they did have specialised wards.

Here a patient can be moved from General to cardiac to gynaecology all in one day. That happened to me a few years ago and could have been the reason my aftercare was so horrendous.

However, yes, I agree. It will be interesting to see just how progressive the Forth Valley Hospital is after a few years.

subrosa said...

I understand that JRB and that's the downside to individual rooms, but the plus side is surely when you're feeling so unwell you're not interested in any verbal contact.

At least in a single room you may have less chance contacting a HAI.

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