National Health bosses are on the defensive today following a series of damaging exposés about the treatment of bugs at NHS hospitals. Ever since the damning tale of a Staphylococcus cluster being left to die on a hospital bedpan hit the headlines, newspapers have been full harrowing testimonies from viruses, fungi, prions and protozoa, all desperate to share their story.
Primary Care Trusts have strenuously denied allegations of bug ill-treatment after routine inspections found that many bugs brought into hospital were either being ignored or were not receiving proper attention. Many had been found languishing in corridors, bathrooms and cupboards, with one Pseudomonas bacterium being left unattended on a hospital trolley for four days.
Private hospitals have also come under fire, facing accusations of elitism with certain strains of virus being given special treatment. Nurses at one Harley Street clinic are said to have neglected ‘old fashioned’ viruses in favour of more upmarket infections such as MRSA. One complainant, who wished to be known only as ‘the shits’ told how it was systematically neglected while staff concentrated on an Eton-educated A/H1N1 swine flu bug in the next bed.
As increasing numbers of bugs come forward to complain about being ‘over worked and under sprayed’, details are emerging of an even more controversial issue: the active extermination of bacteria and viruses in hospitals. One whistleblower, a former infection control link nurse, has told of how E coli, ESBL, Legionella and Clostridium Difficile bugs are being routinely eliminated in medical establishments across the country.
NHS chiefs have defended this ‘security measure’, claiming that attacks by infections on staff and patients alike are on the increase and that the bugs must therefore be dealt with. Hospital managers have in turn blamed the government, who, by not giving extra funding to cash-strapped primary care trusts, have been accused of ‘washing their hands of the issue’.
jp1885 with thanks to (deep breath) Wallybrain, Vandella, Seamus Nottrew, JayGee, Stan Laurel and callaway, for their suggestions.