Human Exceptionalism

NHS Meltdown: 25% of Hospitals Failing on Hygiene

The warning sirens are blaring, but will we listen?  Centralized health care planning doesn’t work.  In the UK, the NHS hospitals have an abysmal record on something as basic as hygiene. From the story:

A quarter of health trusts failed to meet standards over hospital infections while five were warned over blood-spattered walls and mouldy instruments under a toughened regulatory regime, the Guardian has learned. Of particular concern was the state of ambulances, which were inspected for the first time. Investigators found dirty forceps stored in some vehicles as well as bloodstains…

The reasons for failure were worrying: 36 trusts were not providing areas to decontaminate instruments; in three trusts there was a failure to regularly flush unused water outlets – crucial for the control of legionella infections; and 13 trusts were criticised for not keeping clinical areas clean. Nigel Ellis, the CQC’s head of national inspection, said: “Good infection control takes constant vigilance – and meeting that every day, for every patient, is an ongoing challenge for the NHS. “We have found evidence of a direct risk to patients and have intervened using our new enforcement powers to ensure swift improvements were made.”

I am tempted to profanity. I am a writer–and a lawyer–word usually do not fail me. But I am at a loss…

In the USA, we have the Joint Committee–a private accrediting organizations the inspections of which are stringent and thorough.  We have federal oversight, state departments of health, and lawyers ready to sue at the drop of a hat, etc.,, all of which work together to keep our hospitals generally on the up and up.  But you accept centralized planning–which is where Obamacare is intended to take us eventually–and you get the NHS.