Saturday, January 3, 2009

Branson on MRSA - letter to the NT

Following comments on the Nursing Times website, this is a letter to the NT:

Dear Editor,

Peter Carter’s comments about Richard Branson’s lack of insight into HCAI control are very welcome. Branson has continuously slated dedicated NHS staff over the past few months, and has even suggested that the NHS should have the same level of safety as the air industry, despite being a very different beast. Of course, Mr Branson ignores the damage that the air industry does, while direct deaths from accidents are rare, the impact of air travel on the climate is large and growing.

Strangely though, Mr Carter’s list of interventions that reduce HCAIs do not seem to include bringing cleaners back into the NHS. The need to reverse the years of outsourcing of cleaning services has never been higher – contractual control of cleaning can never be as effective as direct control. This outsourcing has been one of the most damaging NHS policies of the past 25 years.

The NHS can and must do better to reduce the level of infections but Richard Branson should not only listen to infection control experts before making such suggestions like blanket compulsory screening, but he should set his own house in order too.

Stuart Jeffery
Health Spokesperson for The Green Party

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