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The Sickness Affecting Our Health Service

Jul 10, 2008
We do what we can for our health, we eat well, try to exercise regularly and limit our alcohol intake and for some lucky people, they can afford to pay for health insurance. Unfortunately sometimes, things still go wrong and we could be faced with treatments and operations still being necessary. Once we get to hospital for our treatment that's not necessarily the end of the worry.

More patients are now concerned with picking up an infection, such as MRSA, whilst in hospital than they are concerned about the operation itself. There has been so much in the press over the last couple of years that reports people dying from hospital contracted infections rather than from their operation or illness.

In a recent study, 40% of people polled expressed this concern with a staggering 31% saying that they would consider avoiding hospital treatment because of it.
There is still confidence in the treatment received on the NHS but since the cleaning of wards has been turned over to outside companies and subject to drastically reduced funding, it doesn't take much to see that cleanliness is not what it once was on a hospital ward.

I had three babies in hospital over a nine year period.
With the first, cleaners would come in every day and everything was stripped down and cleaned to spotless perfection. Stains were simply non-existent along with built up dirt. Matrons were in charge of their ward and nobody dared to do anything that would compromise patient safety.

By the time I had my third, cleaners were down to about once a week, blood stains were sprayed everywhere and the dirt was visible. Staff were thinner on the ground and much more stressed. These are the nurses taking care of new born babies - the more vulnerable of our society.

Some of the problems today are relating to the shortage of money invested in hospitals. Cleaners are short on the ground as are nursing staff. When nurses are pushed to their limits, certain corners will be cut and it is thought that lack of hand washing, given restricted time and too many patients for each nurse to see to, is responsible for the spread of MRSA. There is also an issue of staff wearing uniform backwards and forwards to work, carrying germs in and out of hospitals, whereas once upon a time, uniforms would be left at work and cleaned by a specialist company to ensure sterilisation.

To combat some of these problems, the government have pledged 50 pounds million towards a deep cleaning of hospital wards. It's a good thing that at last something is being done but it shows that the old methods worked best and it proves that subbing out cleaning to contractors has not saved money or helped - in fact, it has probably cost lives.

So how can buying health insurance help? Well, it means that while the bigger picture of NHS health is an issue, at the end of the day we all need to look out for ourselves and our families. My father was recently lucky enough to have his health insurance pay out for a knee operation and I went to visit him in hospital. The difference between this place and where I stayed with my last baby was astounding.

Cleanliness was top of the bill. Staff were helpful and unflustered and patient recovery rate was greatly increased. We cannot blame nursing staff for the problems with the NHS system, we all know they do a wonderful job with the resources that they have and are all overworked and under-paid. The government are responsible for taking our tax money to plough into a system that was meant to solve all the nation's health worries and not distributing it properly.
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