Hospital infections

Hospitals should be clean. They should not make sick people sicker. They should never kill people.   And if they do, someone should be held accountable.

Why can't these basic principles be observed? It's disgraceful that, not far from us, hundreds of people were allowed to die of a hospital infection, and a damning report had to be published, before anyone accepted responsibility for the situation.   Of course, it was the local Trust executives alone who got the chop. Ministers stayed put, and had to be dragged to the Commons to apologise.

This week the Healthcare Commission reported that one in four hospital trusts are failing to meet the required standards on MRSA infection control.   Nine trusts failed to do so for the second year running, two of them in Sussex: Brighton and Worthing. I'm not surprised: almost every week I hear new horror stories from constituents who have acquired an infection in a local hospital.

It hasn't taken the public long to realise that Gordon Brown is as wedded to spin as his predecessor. We got the grandstanding promise to deep clean all hospitals.   But infections will not be fought by cleaning a hospital just once.   And why, after ten years, aren't hospitals clean in the first place?

30 miles away, in France, the hospitals are spotless and infection rates are lower. They wouldn't contemplate closing local hospitals there.   14,000 of us protested politely (again) in Haywards Heath last weekend. Across the channel, they would probably have guillotined the Trust executives by now.

David Cameron rightly drew attention to the Government's targets which force managers to focus on issues other than patient safety.   I think there's another culprit: the incessant, pointless and wasteful NHS re-organisations which consume hours of management and clinician time.

NHS managers should attend to their duty, clean their hospitals and stamp out infections. Pushing pens and moving around the deckchairs can wait.

Michelle Taylorhospitals