Sunday, June 13, 2004

"It's The Procedures ..."

No one is responsible for anything in our brave new world.

"Professor Pennington said BBC South East Today's footage, filmed by a journalist working undercover for the hospital-managed cleaning service, revealed "inexcusable" practices.

He said the hospital, which is used by people living in north Sussex and west Kent, was not even clean by domestic standards.

At one point during filming, the accident and emergency department almost ran out of paper towels - vital to dry hands after washing to prevent spreading infection.

Prof Pennington compared being so short of hand towels to running out of anaesthetic gas during an operation.

The University of Aberdeen professor also criticised medical staff for leaving used instruments in an operating theatre sink for seven hours and a blood stained gown on a trolley for 24 hours.

After watching the film, he told BBC South East Today: "It's been scandalously easy to find major deficiencies in this hospital.

"It's a dirty hospital, it's the worst I have ever seen.

"It's putting the lives of patients and staff at risk." "

A hospital spokeswoman said its cleaning service was being improved.

For God's sake, what improvements can you make if your staff seem unaware that you just don't leave dirty kit lying around ? What kind of cretins have they got working there ?

But apparently it's all down to lack of money. It's amazing what can be turned into a claim for more budget.

Rose Gibb, the newly appointed chief executive of Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Trust, was shown the footage.

In response she said: "The hospital has got cleaning problems, I've been aware of those for the last six months.

"I've put a massive amount of improvements into them, and I'm going to continue to put improvements into the hospital until we get it to the level we want it to be.

"There are particular issues at the Kent and Sussex that are not found elsewhere.

"It's cramped, it's overused, the fabric is appalling, there's next to no storage facilities, and staff are working in unacceptable conditions."

Miss Gibb said it would take nine months to get the service to a high standard.

Medical technology has advanced enormously in the last thirty years. But since the matron was abolished and nurses no longer have responsibility for the cleanliness of the ward, we're apparently unable to manage such complex tasks as emptying bins and washing water jugs. The Kent and Sussex Hospital has one of the worst MRSA superbug infection rates in the South East.

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