Hospital Rats

I was disgusted to read today on the BBC News website of the number of English hospitals which have had to bring in pest controllers numerous times over the past couple of years. Disgusted, but not altogether surprised, as hospital cleanliness has been a topic of discussion in Britain for some time now.

I haven’t had any experience of English hospitals since being born there nearly thirty years ago, but I’m quite sure that if and when Welsh hospitals receive similar scrutiny, similar results will be produced. I myself have a ‘vermin story’ about a Cardiff hospital. After my first ultrasound scan for my younger son, my husband and I decided that we couldn’t wait to tell my parents that we were expecting another baby and so, rather than heading home to use the phone we sat in the car in the hospital car park and phoned on my mobile phone. As I was sitting there, telling my mother the good news, at least a dozen rats were running around on the bank in front of the car. Admittedly on the other side of the bank there is a very busy dual carriageway, but equally, thirty yards in the other direction is the entrance to the accident and emergency department. Not a nice thought that so many rats were so close to what is effectively a permanently open door, through which the rest of the hospital can be easily accessed by rodent feet.

But then, given the problems that hospitals seem to be facing with regards to cleaning, it is hardly surprising that pests and vermin are becoming such a problem. My mother had to go into hospital a couple of years ago for a scheduled operation and we were all really quite worried about the other infections which she could easily (or so it appeared at the time if you read any of the popular media) pick up which would make her more ill than when she went in. While she was there, another patient on her ward actually cleaned the floor of the ward as there was a substance on the floor which looked like blood, and hadn’t been cleaned by the people who were supposed to be looking after this side of things. I’m waiting for my mother to start blogging, as she has so many stories of how things used to be done in contrast with the state of affairs today (she was a nurse before I was born). One main thing that she has told me a few times recently is that while the hospital trusts were talking about performing a ‘deep clean’ in the six months from last September to the end of March this year, while she was a nurse they did this so-called ‘deep clean’ weekly! And now, it appears from this article I found on the Department of Health’s website that this deep cleaning process is to be annual! Even I (who really didn’t enjoy Biology in school) know that germs multiply much too fast for that to be properly effective! And yes, I know that there will be cleaning done in the interim, but surely hospitals should set the standards as being the cleanest of the clean? And yes, I am also aware that many germs and some vermin would actually be brought into the hospitals by patients, but without a truly effective cleaning programme, how can we ever hope that NHS trusts will keep the spread of bacteria and vermin under control? It makes me hope and pray to God even more fervently that none of my family will ever need hospital treatment.


2 Responses

  1. It is ironic that the Public Health system has been allowed to deteriorate to such a point – but then, sadly, it tends to reflect much of what is going on in life.

    If a private institution was so plagued the authorities would probably “stomp” on them at the first hint of a complaint.

    Sadly our dear old World is losing many of its values and there are a lot of two-legged human vermin “out there” which would make the four legged variety look angelic!

    Keep articulating though this dear old World needs those prepared to standup and be counted. Bravo!

  2. […] I was thrilled today to find that Paul Evans, writing for the New Statesman online, linked to my post about vermin in hospitals! My first link from a magazine or newspaper website! And yes, I know that he linked to lots of […]

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