Last update 21st. May 2004

PPIFO

Letter to the Independent

Sir,

According to the Chief Executive of our local NHS Trust, now confirmed by the DoH, getting NHS staff to wash their hands or to wear gloves - both requirements mandated by the government (not to say good clinical practice) is "problematical".

I am at the end of my tether on this issue. NHS staff are killing people, many thousands each year, by failing to observe Universal Precautions.

All we ask is that they wash their hands and wear gloves when appropriate.

I've written to the Chief Executive of Surrey & Sussex NHS Trust whose first response is a shoulder shrug of "we try but what can I do?"

The second is a much more defensive "we're doing everything we are required to do"....except enforce it.

The final letter received from the DoH on Saturday just reinforces the position.

The only way we are going to get something done about this is to stir public outrage and public action and I am desperate to find a quality media outlet to project this. Is it something you are interested in? I respect your editorial stance on most issues and the Independent is my newspaper of choice.

In my business if my customers complain about something my staff are doing wrong I have to act immediately. If I am found to fail to comply with Health and Safety or any of the other morass of regulations I can hardly avoid prosecution by saying that "enforcing the practice amongst my staff is problematical" !! In my business there is very little we do that could damage the health of my customers or anyone else. This is a "business" that is literally killing people because, apparently, staff cannot be controlled at this most basic level. It's an outrageous position but since Hutton I have no faith at all in the process of government. Only public shame and public action is likely to achieve anything.

With kind regards

Robin Redmile-Gordon

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