It is noticeable when driving in Britain today that our roads are unclean. I don’t throw litter out of my car window or drop it for others to pick up. I don’t know anyone who does but clearly there are many people who do. They don’t care and have little thought for others.
Even people paid to clean the roads no longer do the job properly now that they have been mechanised. Previously a man with brush and shovel cleaned the streets. Now street cleaning vehicles, probably air-conditioned, pick up litter just in passing, leaving behind what their brushes don’t reach.
The same attitude is evident in some of our hospitals where modern technology leaves patients wired to monitor everything but their general wellbeing. Wards have been left dirty causing serious, life-threatening infections while nurses and doctors have to be reminded to wash their hands.
In the worst cases patients have their food left out of reach with nobody to feed them, their prescribed drugs left on bedside lockers and their bedding in disarray resulting in undignified exposure. Having scraped congealed food from supposedly clean surfaces and excreta from under the finger nails of a “Barrier Nurse” patient – just a note on the door! - the findings of the independent inquiry into the Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust will come as no surprise to anyone who has been affected by the lack of care, especially of the elderly, in some British hospitals today.
Hospital Trusts may have become driven by targets and cost-cutting but as any ‘old-school’ nurse who was properly trained in nursing care on the wards rather than in college knows, many of the current problems are the result of changes in training and nursing practice.