Hospital standards compared to Calcutta

Reporter:

Hayley Collins

STANDARDS in the region’s hospitals have been compared to those in an Indian city.

Senior councillors branded hospitals in North Wales dirty during a meeting of Flintshire Council’s social and health overview and scrutiny committee.

Following a presentation by Chris Jones, deputy chief officer for public and patient engagement with Betsi Cadwaladr Community Health Council (CHC), Cllr Hilary Isherwood said hospital policies meant “we might as well be living in Calcutta”.

Cllr Isherwood’s comments came after she vented her frustration that nurses were allowed to wear their uniforms outside the hospital grounds.

She said: “We have got dirty hospitals. We have got MRSA, C-Diff and the norovirus in Wrexham at the moment.

“What can we do to enable changes like lobbying to bring back matrons and for nurses not to be able to go home in their uniform or arrive in their uniform?

“It’s wrong that people working in dog biscuit factories go in there scrubbed up with little rubber boots on, yet we are talking about people here – we might as well be living in Calcutta.”

Other councillors feared the wearing of uniforms outside hospital premises was leading to the spread of infection.

Cllr Peter Curtis added: “The point about uniforms is very valid.

“Maybe there’s a need to reintroduce a laundry into our hospitals so uniforms don’t even leave the premises.”

Ms Jones said the CHC had raised the issue with the previous health board - Flintshire Local Health Board, which was replaced with Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) in 2009 - but was told hospitals did not have enough space for lockers. Now councillors have demanded the issue is raised by the CHC with BCUHB.

Cllr Cindy Hinds, a member of CHC, said issues raised by members were rarely acted upon.

She added: “People give up their time and work very hard, but we don’t get an end result.

“They haven’t got the money to do all the things we recommend.”

Members also agreed to write to BCUHB with their concerns about staff uniform.

A spokesman for BCUHB said: “The key measures to minimise the risk of spreading infection include good hand hygiene and using appropriate protective equipment such as gloves and aprons when conducting clinical interventions.

“These are especially important where the natural barrier of the skin has been breached  It is important that staff maintain a smart, professional appearance to patients and the public and our uniform policy clearly sets out the Health Board's requirements on this subject.”

See full story in the Leader

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