We could learn from UK hospitals

Dear editor,

Having recently returned from a trip to England I have a few words to say about the National Health Service there.

I visited four different hospitals while senior relatives were undergoing day surgery and follow-up visits, and in another situation another senior underwent emergency admission, surgery for a broken hip and post-operative care.

In each situation I was struck by the cleanliness of the hospitals, including waiting areas, corridors, outpatients departments, patients’ beds, lockers, toilets and personal space. There was a hand-washing bottle available at the foot of each bed and numerous signs about their use. A notice up on the wall in the waiting area listed all the equipment, whose job it was to clean it and how often; from walls, curtains and floors to IV stands and “equipment attached to a patient”. Visitors were encouraged to report any visible dirt or spills. The corridors were clean and clear of obstructions. (Such as the revolting and smelly dirty linen carts that decorate the corridors at St Joe’s!)

In each hospital the visiting times were back to the old-fashioned “2-4 p.m., and 6-8 p.m.” and two only to a patient at a time. The staff had the patients ready and waiting for their visitors, and did no treatments during that time (unless necessary of course), but kept a watchful eye in case a visitor dared to sit on a bed, or use a patient’s toilet! But they were also available during visiting time to answer questions, which I found a refreshing change.

I found online an NHS document about hospital cleaning standards dated 2007, including these measures, that individual hospital trusts were encouraged to adopt.

I would hope that the new hospital will be able to emulate such standards.

 

 

Liz Naish, retired registered nurse

Courtenay