Human Exceptionalism

NHS Meltdown: Vermin Infestations, Ants in Operating Rooms

Not good: NHS hospitals are apparently struggling with vermin infestations. From the story:

Ants in operating theatres and maternity, cockroaches in x-ray and mice in A&E are some of the 30,000 pest infestations in NHS hospitals over the last four years, figures have revealed.

Data released under the Freedom of Information Act shows NHS hospitals in England have dealt with almost 30,000 pest infestations since 2006. Exterminators were called to deal with black ants, wasps, rodents, cluster flies, biting insects, silver fish, woodlice, bird mites, maggots, pigeons, red spiders, may bugs, mosquitoes, ladybirds, bees, mice and fleas.

The pests were found in all areas of hospitals including patient wards, operating theatres, maternity units, A&E and children’s wards as well as in kitchens, maintenance, offices and staff accommodation. On average 70 exterminators are called out each day to NHS hospitals in England and often deal with more than one infestation at a time.

We also know that UK hospitals have unacceptable levels of hospital acquired infection, patients forced to wait in ambulances because they are unable to be processed in ERs, and other assorted horrors.

The  UK’s difficulties with the NHS should be a warning to us about the dangers of placing too much trust in public health care systems.  Better, it seems to me, to have competing private systems backed up by regulation and vigorous tort law as an incentive to proper practices.

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