Matron to return in Tory health shake-up

#1
Michael Howard will today commit the Conservatives to bringing back hospital matrons with new powers to shut down dirty wards and operating theatres.

It will be part of a concerted drive to combat the spread of the hospital acquired infection MRSA.

The Tory leader, who believes that his elderly mother-in-law died from the superbug four years ago, has put improved hospital hygiene at the centre of his party's health manifesto.

He will open a new front in pre-election skirmishing by claiming that there is now a greater risk of dying from a hospital acquired infection than being killed in a road accident.

The Tory decision to give matrons powers to overrule hospital managers and order the closure of dirty wards coincided with figures showing that the salary of a health service trust chief executive has risen above £200,000 for the first time.

The NHS Board Room Pay Report 2005, from Income Data Service Ltd, said the pay of NHS chief executives had risen by 70 per cent in 10 years, while nurses' pay had gone up by 50 per cent.

The average salaries of chief executives in England was £107,500 compared with £116,000 in Wales, £95,000 in Scotland and £87,500 in Northern Ireland. The average in London was £115,000.

The data from NHS accounts in the year to March 2004 show that Hammersmith Hospitals, London, topped the league, with the chief executive being paid £212,500, followed by Guy's and St Thomas's, where the salary was £192,000.

Outside London, the highest paid was the chief executive of University Hospitals of Leicester at £162,500.

The Tories will claim that pressure on hospital managers to "chase Government targets" to cut waiting times is preventing the closure of dirty wards for cleaning.

Since 1997 the number of people suffering from the superbug MRSA has doubled.

More than 5,000 people die from hospital infections every year - more than the number killed on the roads. Hospital infections cost the health service £1 billion a year.

Four years ago Rosalie Paul, 89, the mother of Mr Howard's wife Sandra, was taken to hospital after breaking a rib. She was expected to survive but caught an infection, which Mr Howard believes was MRSA, and died.

The Tories will promise to abolish the Whitehall target culture, which they claim has "spawned the superbug crisis". Hospitals will be required to publish information, by clinical departments, on MRSA infection, enabling patients to make informed choices about where to have their operation.

Although the Government announced four months ago the "return of matron" to help deal with MRSA, the Conservatives say that under Labour's plans neither the new chief nursing officer nor the matrons have the power to shut down dirty wards.

The Conservative health manifesto will propose that matrons should be given the responsibility for providing clean and infection-free wards and operating theatres.

Local infection teams would work with the matron and have the authority to shut dirty wards where there were superbug outbreaks.

At present they do not have this power – and the matron will be responsible for making sure that it happens.

Mr Howard said: "The days when matrons and inspection teams are overruled by managers chasing Government targets will be over."

The National Audit Office reported last year that, because of the pressure to meet Labour's targets, hospitals had poor infection control.

The increased throughput of patients to meet performance targets had resulted in considerable pressure towards higher bed occupancy, which was not always consistent with good infection control.

Mr Howard will also commit the Tories to increase spending on the health service by £34 billion a year by the end of the first term of a Conservative government.

He will signal a shift of emphasis away from encouraging patients to pay for private operations, subsidised by a 50 per cent grant from the health service.

The Tories intend to encourage the NHS and the private sector to work together to cut waiting lists.

All patients would have a choice of treatment at any hospital – NHS or independent – which met health service standards at NHS costs.

The Tories believe that this would provide a powerful incentive for private providers to increase their capacity, which would mean waiting lists falling faster.

Yesterday Mr Howard defended Tory plans to introduce health checks for immigrants.

People coming to live and work in Britain from outside the EU would be required to be screened for tuberculosis and HIV/Aids before leaving their own countries.

Mr Howard said the NHS should not be a "world health service". It was important to protect public health and ensure that the NHS was not abused by "health tourists" who were not entitled to free treatment here.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/mai...ml&sSheet=/portal/2005/02/16/ixportaltop.html
 
#2
Shutting down dirty wards is obviously a short term measure that may stop people catching MRSA but it does not get to the root of the problem. As with so many public sector organisations, the cleaning contracts are given to outside contrctors who, will be judged on their cost-efficiency. A matron may be able to close a ward but they will not have the power to change the terms of the cleaning contract to ensure that the wards are cleaned properly in the first place.

The re-introduction of matrons onto the wards can only be successful if they are given direct control over the whole process of cleaning.I find it staggering that the number of MRSA cases could be significantly reduced if our hospitals were cleaned properly and yet this has not been addressed. The cost would surely be tiny compared with the money spent on the NHS as a whole. Just get some more cleaners and a SNCO to cut around making sure they clean properly.

Yet another example of the government putting people at risk in order to save a few pennies through sub- contracting.
 
#3
Very ture. If matrons are to be brought back they should have authority to hire and fire their cleaning staff in order to make sure that the cleaning was done properly!

A_S
 
#4
Agent_Smith said:
If matrons are to be brought back they should have authority to hire and fire their cleaning staff in order to make sure that the cleaning was done properly!
I can guarantee it!! :D

 
#5
We in the military are blighted by the same sub-contract penny pinching. Worked at a place with civvy armourers. Good blokes but had to work according to their contract. This led to the situation where all wpns had to be in by 1700hrs. If you wanted to do some extra trg then you would have to ask for someone to be paid overtime, which was almost always denied due to budget concerns. Net result, compromise on trg.

However, it saved a few £s for Brown.
 
#6
Thanks Calypso,

Ooooooh Matron! Now can't think or work. Imagining a bed bath.
 
#7
Ho hum. Both the Tories and Labour promised this in the 2001 election campaign. "Matron" is a word that fits nicely on the front of the Mail and a lot of people used to watch Hattie Jacques flicks.

You won't catch Howard promising to cancel the privatised cleaning contracts and take the work inhouse; after all, the Tories invented this. Without direct management control, "matrons" will just be an exercise in job title inflation.
 
#8
I do hope that you are wrong pprune, but i doubt it :(
 
#9
Escape-from-PPRuNe said:
Ho hum. Both the Tories and Labour promised this in the 2001 election campaign. "Matron" is a word that fits nicely on the front of the Mail and a lot of people used to watch Hattie Jacques flicks.

You won't catch Howard promising to cancel the privatised cleaning contracts and take the work inhouse; after all, the Tories invented this. Without direct management control, "matrons" will just be an exercise in job title inflation.
It's not the Tories fault that supposedly experienced managers can't manage their way out of a wet paper bag. When you write a contract you should state the standards to be reached. You then monitor them, if they don't get there then you bounce the dirty money-grabbing bar-stewards out of the door!
 
#12
MikeMcc said:
[quote="When you write a contract you should state the standards to be reached. You then monitor them, if they don't get there then you bounce the dirty money-grabbing bar-stewards out of the door!
The contract terms are drawn up by some office dogsbody with no practical experience of cleaning. Some even use pre-written conditions. The facilities management people will seek to modify the required service to their advantage. At review of contract prior to award, it will be found to be "too costly" Further cut-backs in standards will be made. What was berely acceptable at the start will have been reduced to hardly worth it at the end. The facility contract staff are instructed very positively what they will do and are told to ignore any instruction they get from hospital staff. Some faciility staff said in tender that they should not move any hospital equipment to clean in case they caused harm to equipment or patient. This ended up with staff not moving visitor chairs to mop floors. The nonsense is that if someone craps on the lavatory floor, cleaners will not deal with it as it is outside the terms of their contract.
 
#13
Darn right. We need to get some contract that allow for people to be told to stop whinging and f*cking up clean the mess. It is understandable why the cleaners do not do things outside their contract as that is the way the world works (civvie world anyway).

A solution would be to employ lots of Sandhurst C/Sgts. Dusty bed-springs indeed.
 
#14
In the old days, each ward had a couple of domestics who cleaned the ward and sometimes went round with a hot drinks trolley. They were part of the ward staff, and usually fiercely proud of 'their' ward. All this changed when contractors came in, and now the usual picture is of a minimum-wage migrant worker idly shuffling a broom along a corridor.

I recently visited a colleague who was a patient at the hospital in which we both work. I observed a line of blood spots on the wall, probably the result of over-enthusiastic phlebotomy, and pointed it out to the ward staff. Later I saw it had been 'cleaned'; or rather, wiped and re-didtributed over the surface. With standards as low as this it's no wonder infection is rife.

Giving Matrons (or today's poor version thereof) the power to close wards won't work. Modern Matrons - pah! ours wear purple dresses, no hats and are obsessed with nursey PC drivel. Put the old style military nurses in charge - the sight of a bulldog-faced QA, in veil and tippet, storming down the corridor like an angry battleship would soon sort the feckers out and have the wards gleaming!
 
#15
Did anyone else see the program "angels undercover"? Made me sit up and think.

The best way of sorting out the NHS is to kick all of these bed managers and target specialiest or whatever other drivel posts have been put in out on their arrses.

We need matrons who will rock the wards with terror when they walk in to inspect. Ward sisters who will keep a grip on their own wards and cleaners who are responsible to these personel to clean up.

these cleaners, apparently, feel undervalued at the moment and nurses were encouraged to take them out on the pop. (don't even want to think about that!!! Imagine taking some of our cleaning staff out!!!) It would be much better if they were part of the hospital staff, like the nurses. and they clean everything. on the program the nurses had to clean up stools, urine and possibly vomit. If the cleaners do it they allow the specialised staff to do their jobs. When they weren't cleaning the cleaners could possibly help out by talking to the patients, helping with bed baths maybe just helping the patients by opening windows etc. Almost like an auxillary nurse, i suppose, this would free up the nurses from some of the less important jobs.

Don't get me wrong i'm not advocating the dumbing down the nurses profession to the level of cleaners. Just upgrading the cleaners to a point where they are actually doing more that just cleaning the wards. I'm not for a minute suggesting that they could attempt to bed bath a patient alone or move patients but just provide a bit of extra attention. And that way they are always on hand to clean up the odd bit of sh1t and spew!

Also patients need to be gripped. I don't know how true this is but apparently they can walk around and even leave the hospital. Surely this is crazy. If they are in hospital they don't leave the ward, unless accompanied. Saw in the paper that an MRSA paitent was allowed to wander around the hospital, if this was true, someone needs slapping.

Probably the patient :D
 
#16
Bono you hit the nail on the head!

n the old days, each ward had a couple of domestics who cleaned the ward and sometimes went round with a hot drinks trolley. They were part of the ward staff, and usually fiercely proud of 'their' ward. All this changed when contractors came in, and now the usual picture is of a minimum-wage migrant worker idly shuffling a broom along a corridor.
They used to be proud of their work, but not anymore since it was contracted out. Bring back taditional cleanliness stadards (clean sheets daily, patient washed everyday, no flowers on ward, two visitors at a time, no kids, no one with the cold or flu) It worked then and will work now!
 
#17
chocolate_frog said:
If they are in hospital they don't leave the ward, unless accompanied. Saw in the paper that an MRSA paitent was allowed to wander around the hospital, if this was true, someone needs slapping.

Probably the patient :D
This would violate the patient's human right to pop outside in dressing gown and slippers for a quick ciggie. Have you no conscience man? :wink:
 
#18
Nope :twisted:

They can give up smoking whilst their in too!!!
Filthy habit.
 
#19
ViroBono said:
Put the old style military nurses in charge - the sight of a bulldog-faced QA, in veil and tippet, storming down the corridor like an angry battleship would soon sort the feckers out and have the wards gleaming!
VB - you just sent a shiver down my spine.

Unfortunately I remember such people all too well!! 8O
 
#20
Agent_Smith said:
Bono you hit the nail on the head!

n the old days, each ward had a couple of domestics who cleaned the ward and sometimes went round with a hot drinks trolley. They were part of the ward staff, and usually fiercely proud of 'their' ward. All this changed when contractors came in, and now the usual picture is of a minimum-wage migrant worker idly shuffling a broom along a corridor.
They used to be proud of their work, but not anymore since it was contracted out. Bring back taditional cleanliness stadards (clean sheets daily, patient washed everyday, no flowers on ward, two visitors at a time, no kids, no one with the cold or flu) It worked then and will work now!
Can you make a sentence out of the following?

System See Parallels You ? With Regimental Can

ISTR reports of contract staff (low wages) buying their own cleaning materials because the supplied ones were so poor.
 
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