Hospital hygiene

September 28, 2007 12:17 PM

Reuters report today that the Lancet has condemned Brown's proposals to deep-clean hospitals and make all hospital staff wear short sleeves.  Their central contention is that he has neglected more important measures like making NHS staff wash their hands.


Some of the Lancet's criticisms are ill-founded.  The problem isn't that Brown is being too populist - the public are not fans of staff failing to wash their hands - or that keeping hospitals clean should not be a priority - they acknowledge that cleaning hospitals makes a significant difference to the spread of C. Difficile.  The problem is that once again the headline-grabbing simplicities of a politically managed health service will tend to distort activity towards big initiatives and away from small tasks like washing hands that can be more important.


Politicians need to stop trying to manage healthcare.

Reuters report today that the Lancet has condemned Brown's proposals to deep-clean hospitals and make all hospital staff wear short sleeves.  Their central contention is that he has neglected more important measures like making NHS staff wash their hands.


Some of the Lancet's criticisms are ill-founded.  The problem isn't that Brown is being too populist - the public are not fans of staff failing to wash their hands - or that keeping hospitals clean should not be a priority - they acknowledge that cleaning hospitals makes a significant difference to the spread of C. Difficile.  The problem is that once again the headline-grabbing simplicities of a politically managed health service will tend to distort activity towards big initiatives and away from small tasks like washing hands that can be more important.


Politicians need to stop trying to manage healthcare.

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