And then he went and spoilt it all. By Nadine Dorries MP

Last week on my blog I wrote:I would love to hear David Cameron announce that every hospital will launder uniforms on site and that it will become an instantly dismissible offence for hospital staff to be seen outside of a hospital in uniform. This would state that we would almost wipe out MRSA overnight and stop the endless deaths and disablements caused by bacteria which have thrived in an NHS where everyone is under pressure

The announcement made by Gordon Brown yesterday on MRSA was not a new one. The announcement that matrons would be able to remove contracts from poor cleaners was in itself a re-cyled announcement, made many months ago.

I would still like to see David Cameron get onto the stage at the Blackpool conference and declare an intention to wipe out MRSA, but then go on to demonstrate that he understands how to do it.

David, are you listening?Look at the best practice deployed by the Royal Marsden – the lowest MRSA rate in the country; all uniforms are laundered on site; and no member of staff travels in or out of the hospital in their uniform.

I worked in a similar hospital – I had seven uniforms with my name on. When I went into work I gave my name to the man behind the hatch, he handed me one of my uniforms, I went in to the locker room, changed and went onto my ward.

Nothing incenses me more than seeing a young woman leaning over a fruit and veg display in a supermarket with a nappied toddler on her hip, in a nurses uniform. Is she on her way into or out of work?

Washing hands should be a mantra backed by discipline. Hospital visiting should be severely restriced, and then two visitors only at a bed at any one time – at a bed, not on a bed.
Open visiting in wards, allowing visitors to arrive at any time of day or night, unrestricted in numbers increases the amount of bacteria brought into and out of a hospital.

Only recently I visited a hospital and there were seven visitors around one bed, apparently they had been there most of the day. Half were lounging on the bed. I wanted to say “get off that bed now” but I had to remind myself that I am no longer a nurse in a hospital with high standards.

Unrestricted visiting means that ward cleaners are constantly inhibited and interrupted from doing their cleaning. When they have cleaned, it doesn’t stay that way for very long because of the amount of traffic.

Ward cleaners used to be an integral part of ward staff and take a pride in how their ward looked. Now contract cleaners are moved form ward to ward with no responsibility or pride in where they have just been and no bond with staff or patients. There is no such thing anymore as the ward cleaner who bring s a little sunshine into the life of a long stay patient with a familiar chit chat.

We should scrap targets. Targets put wards and staff under pressure and distort basic hospital priorities of cleanliness and compassion, in to political priorities of meeting quotas.

So, it’s easy really. On site laundering, an offence to wear uniforms outside of the hospital, restricted visiting, respect for the hospital environment from visitors, frequent handwashing dedicated ward cleasners – and scrap targets. MRSA thrashed overnight.

Go for it David. You become the real politician of conviction and show Gordon Brown up to be Prime Minister of duplicity and spin.

It’s yours for the taking now.


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