Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Labour - Tough on manipulating the figures relating to Hospital infections.

If you wanted to hit your target for reducing the number of Hospital infections, you would use the figures gathered directly after a £50m deep clean. And that is exactly what Labour's health Secretary Alan Johnson intends to do. Not exactly honest is it, but what do expect from a minister already in the spotlight for dodgy donations to his deputy leadership campaign? Both the Conservatives and the Lib Dems are attacking this brazen manipulation of the figures. However Alan Johnson is defending his government's position:
"First the Tories say our deep clean is a gimmick and now they say it will help us achieve our target for cutting MRSA rates.
"Rather than trying to score political points they should back our tough action and extra investment to tackle infections and improve cleanliness."
There's a damn good reason that the Conservatives are calling the deep clean a gimmick. Andrew Large, the director general of the Cleaning and Support Services Association said:
"What we have seen over the last few years is hospitals squeezing the cleaning budgets. "When they are up for renegotiation we are being offered less and being told to clean things less frequently. "For example, where we would perhaps have cleaned the tiles every week, it may be every two weeks from then on. "It sounds like only a little thing, but when it is applied to everything it makes a difference. If this had not happened I think infection rates would be lower. "So it now seems strange to us that we are being given contracts to carry out these deep cleans. "You have to wonder, if the cleaning budgets had not been cut would this be necessary? There is disruption to patients as wards have to be emptied. "In my view, it would be a better use of money - and I think our members would prefer it - if the day-to-day cleaning was funded properly."
As Andrew points out, this £50m deep clean gimmick will only reduce MRSA and C difficile in the short term - just about long enough for Labour to hit their target. It seems quite clear that we can expect the infection rate to climb again, once the short term results of the deep clean are over and we are back into an under funded cleaning routine.

Labour - Tough on Hospital infections - Even tougher on manipulating the figures relating to Hospital infections.

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