It appears that our local Acute Hospitals Trust, which runs four hospitals in the area including our own local general hospital, has the fourth worst pest infestation problem in the country. The local Patients' Association chair-person firmly blames this on the privatisation of hospital cleaning services.
"If you went back 15 years, the Matron was on the ward and cleaners were employed by the hospital and there seemed to be a lot of pride on the ward ... Contracts then went out to the private sector and cleaners are now earning the minimum wage ... They are not being encouraged or motivated to take their jobs seriously. There's a high turnover of staff and that needs to be examined."
The term Matron does tend to conjure up images of Hattie Jacques in the Carry On movies, but at the RMCH (part of another trust) where Kezia is being treated, our Ward Manager, Alison, was ever-present and, although somewhat aloof and not on the clinical frontline, appeared to be most concerned at running an efficient operation. I assume most of her time is taken up by ward management - ensuring nurse rosters are in place, that the ward is clean, that kids get the entertainment they need, that parent accomodation on the ward is in order, that meals turn up on time, that the ward/parents kitchen is in order, that records are kept, that the ward complies with hospital, NHS, DoH bureaucracy. And our ward (contract, minimum wage, Filippina) cleaner was included on the photo-board at the entrance to the ward whilst there were notable absences of photos of some of the consultants!
Anyhow, our local Liberal Member of Parliament is concerned and calls for an urgent enquiry, the Trust spokesperson denies there is a problem and makes excuses, and the local Labour parliamentary candidate (toeing the party line) defends government policy.
For those interested in hospital fauna 80% of NHS Trusts reported problems with ants (shurely non-contracted unpaid cleaners - I have never heard of ants as disease vectors?), 66% with rats, 77% with mice, 59% with cockroaches, 65% with fleas or other biting insects and 24% with bed bugs