December 1: The perils of hospital hygiene

From: Professor J. A. Double, Carlinghow Hill, Upper Batley, West Yorkshire.

THE article by MP Andrea Jenkyns, “A simple lesson in hygiene that will save lives” (The Yorkshire Post, November 24), makes some good points but, in reality, it does not go far enough.

It does not recognise the root cause of the problem in that many hospital staff simply do not understand cross-infection and sadly this has been totally compromised by the use of disposable gloves that in most instances have replaced hand washing.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

In a recent visit to hospital, I observed a nurse wash her hands and then put on sterile gloves. She then proceeded to prepare a sterile area. This done, she promptly put the patient’s notes on the prepared area.

She then realised that something was missing and without any thought of removing her gloves rummaged through several drawers and cupboards to find what she was looking for and then placed it on the “sterile” area. She then attended to the patient and removed a cannula in what she believed to be a “sterile” procedure. The notes would not have been sterile nor would anything she had touched her rummaging about.

While it is right and proper that staff should wear gloves where there is a clear risk to them, somehow the message has to be got across that disposable gloves are a real source of cross infection if worn to handle the notes of patients and touch any unsterile surfaces prior to carrying out what they believe to be a clean procedure.

Views from a rail regular

From: David Quarrie, Lynden Way, Holgate, York.

NOT surprisingly your newspaper has had recently many letters about the state of the railways in the North of England. Some of all their comments ring true, most especially those of train driver Karl Davies.

For the past three months, I have been using trains to take me to Leeds, Bradford, Rotherham, Sheffield, Doncaster, Manchester, Gateshead, Newcastle, Preston, Leyland and Carlisle. This has meant using Virgin, First TransPennine, Cross Country and Northern rail companies, most of which ran their trains on time. One train was delayed by two and a half hours, a tree fell on overhead cables, one was 34 minutes late, and three times we were delayed by broken down trains and/or a signal fault. Only once did we suffer from poor traction – leaves on the line.

The most frequent fault (complaint) was lack of a seat due to too few carriages on the train. Several times the guard told us that due to the train being so popular and so full, it was impossible to bring the refreshment trolley down the train. Most of the stations were clean, had good information facilities, warm waiting rooms and long enough platforms.

I agree that the UK rail system and Government policy are the root cause of most troubles.

Train companies cannot be expected to invest millions of pounds on short-term franchise deals, and the way rolling stock is procured is far from sensible.

On the whole, I found the staff to be knowledgeable, polite, tidy and as helpful as they could be. However, the UK railway network is woeful compared to Germany, Austria and Switzerland when it comes to ticketing, speed, prices and efficiency.

Turn tide on clean energy

From: Richard Smithson, Newbold, Chesterfield.

SO coal is to be phased out over the next 10 years. Along with cuts to wind and solar subsidies, the country is going for heavily subsidised nuclear and imported gas. Will this now lead to the Government pushing through applications for fracking and saying we have no choice?

We do have a choice! Wind and solar have been creating thousands of jobs and Britain could develop tidal power to supply most of our needs. Why do we not invest in tidal power in which we have done much research and created thousands of new engineering jobs?

Why do we not lead the world and take a positive approach to energy instead of giving in to the nuclear lobby and the continued use of fossil fuels?

From: John Senior, Skelmanthorpe.

ISN’T it time that our politicians realised that it is counter-productive to impose “green” regulations on our industry which cause production to cease in this country only for us to import the self same goods from abroad where the pollution produced is even greater than here?

Osborne’s U-turn

From: Terry Palmer, South Lea Avenue, Hoyland, Barnsley.

GEORGE Osborne says he listened to the people and decided to abandon tax credit cuts. He did no such thing. He was forced into a U-turn by the House of Lords. But, as usual, he tries his “Tommy Cooper” sleight of hand in trying to baffle us, unsuccessfully I might add.

Festive cheer

From: Keith Bainbridge, Clayton West.

I DROVE home through Kirkburton near Huddersfield the other night and thought I was in Blackpool. What a wonderful Christmas display. Well done.