Long before the Jobbing Doctor entered the blogosphere there were those that suggested in their comments that Dr Grumble sometimes holds back. In the words of the Jobbing Doctor himself, Grumble is very circumspect about his own views. Dr Grumble pleads guilty.
Over the years Dr Grumble has often suggested that perhaps we do not have enough beds in our hospitals. This is not something he has held back on within his own trust. He has sent an email to all and sundry arguing the case for more beds. Since then the beds have been cut. Ranting can vent ones wrath but it often achieves little.
Instead Dr Grumble is going to post some words from the Investigation into outbreaks of Clostridium difficile at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust. Read these and form your own opinion. Here they are:
The infection control team was keen to isolate patients with C. difficile but the scarcity of side rooms made this difficult.
Many of the wards did not have sufficient ...... hand basins, making the control of infection difficult. The beds on several wards were much too close together, making it difficult to clean between them.....
When we visited, we observed levels of contamination that were unacceptable, such as bedpans that had been washed but were still visibly contaminated with faeces.
...it took four months to establish an isolation ward. It is our view that this was largely because of the pressure on beds and the requirement to meet financial and waiting time targets. The same pressures led to some patients moving from ward to ward. The other patients ..... were at risk of catching the infection and some of them did. This was not acceptable.
[Patients' families] told us that when patients rang the call bell because they .... needed to go to the toilet, their call often wasn't answered, or not in time. Particularly distressing, nurses had told patients to "go in the bed", presumably because this was less time consuming than helping a patient to the bathroom. Some patients were left, sometimes for hours, in wet or soiled sheets, putting them at increased risk of pressure sores (pdf).
Dr Grumble's views on this are superfluous. The problems are obvious. The action that is needed is obvious. But has that action been taken?