MRSA. There seems to be no end to the various viruses attacking patients in hospitals, I started to wonder about it. I know that I should not be writing this, I have never worked in a hospital, I have only been in hospital for operations twice, and apart from sticking a plaster on a cut and swallowing my pride, I have no knowledge about viruses or even medical matters other than what I read in the press. So what I write here is basically applied common sense.
I come from a generation, that when young, rarely had reason to attend hospital. From my own memory they were dark, greenish places, shrouded in discipline and overseen by an autocratic hierarchy I don’t remember hearing any complaints, let alone the deluge heaped on the DHSS there is today. Even then there was a discrepancy between the quality of the older and newer hospitals, which is inevitable. As a result I ask a question which may have been asked recently, whether there is a differential between the known cases of viruses, over a given period, in hospitals based in socially disparate areas. Another question that seems obvious, is, if these viruses like to attack open wounds, which are attended in doctors’ surgeries as well as hospital wards, how it is that no mention has been made of people having caught MRSA or the other bugs by being treated in our surgery treatment rooms? With all the publicity, and in consequence extreme activity in hospitals over cleanliness, while surgeries are left to the good sense of the nurses responsible, you would think that the boot might be on the other foot.
We read that viruses have a surprising longevity, in water, in dirt, and in people especially. When these viruses are discussed on television, they are always accompanied by shots of people washing their hands, and others sweeping or polishing the floor. It is possible, that the infection does not come mainly from the floor, unless patients contact the floor or articles stored there. If I were asked, although I never will be, where in the wards I would think most vulnerable, I would say, common toilets, the sluice, and areas from knee height to angle-poise-lamp level – hand touching areas. With the nurses urged to wash their hands repeatedly, the bookie would give you odds, that the contamination was more likely to come from other sources, possibly even the kitchen staff, going from ward to ward, collecting dirty dishes.
I assume that like in all contagion, there are carriers. It would then seem logical that the introduction of the virus happens in visiting hours, visitors move chairs, open and shut cupboards, adjust the pillows of the patients, and bring food from home. This must have been examined in detail, but I find it surprising it has never been brought to public attention. Presupposing that I am right, it will be a lot cheaper for every visitor to be given disposable latex gloves to wear within the hospital than all the cleaning an outbreak prompts. The hospitals pride themselves, in many cases, on their cleanliness, and yet there is infection. One assumes that apart from the serious emergencies, there is a checking system of the blood of all those taken into care in a hospital, and that these reception areas and wards are clinically divorced from the A&E department, with some sort of quarantine area, before the latter patient is allowed to become part of the general ward environment.
I appreciate that this will be thought rubbish by the medicals and hospital staff generally, but I needed to write it, because I am a belt and braces man.
Pensions. I may have touched on this before, but it’s worth repeating. As a pensioner, not just an old-age pensioner, I’m aware of the value of a steady income when you are not as capable of doing things for yourself as you were 10 years ago. I am worried, not for my own sake, but for the millions out there working away, who cannot be sure whether they will have a pension or not. The current state of the financial markets doesn’t give confidence, and especially because those same markets hold the pension investments, people are worried. It seems to be a heads you win, tails you lose, type of lottery, probably with less than even odds, ‘for’. The government has always tried to persuade us to save, surely if they undertook to take over the whole of the pension system for all people at work, they would achieve this aim, and at the same time ensure that at some date in the future half the population would not be destitute, with all that implies with respect to taxes and welfare.