300,000 hospital infections a year being caused by poor hygiene conditions
541 out of 731 hospital kitchens found to be dirty
Shadow health secretary says filthy hospitals are a sign of an NHS struggling to cope
Hospital patients would be forgiven for expecting that the food dished up to them is prepared in only the most hygienic conditions.
But kitchens making meals in British hospitals are failing to meet even basic standards of cleanliness, an investigation has found.
And infestations of mice, rats and cockroaches have been reported in hospitals across the country, with a lack of training amongst catering staff also putting those in wards at risk.
A number of hospitals have been plagued by cockroach infestations, putting vulnerable patients in danger
Health officers discovered that 541 out of 731 hospital kitchens were flouting hygiene regulations and found to be dirty.
The results of the freedom of information request, reported in the Sun, show a number of incidents likely to worry hospital patients and their families.
At Lewisham Hospital in South East London, environmental officers uncovered ‘widespread mouse activity’ and an infestation of cockroaches, whilst at Wolverhampton’s West Park Hospital a dead rat was found in a cupboard in close proximity to where food was being prepared.
Elsewhere, an officer inspecting Petersfield Hospital, Hants, was told that movement under the fryers in the kitchen was a result of ‘a loose grape’ not a mouse moving.
As well as the disturbing reports of animal infestations, lapses in catering cleanliness are also leading to 300,000 infections a year, with out-of-date meals being served to patients in more than one in ten hospital kitchens.
Christie’s cancer hospital in Manchester had frozen food being stored five months after it should have been thrown away and at Sandwell General Hospital, West Bromwich, traces of listeria were found in patients’ lunches.
Patients at St Barts Hospital in London were served food from kitchens where mouse droppings were spotted
Lewisham Hospital in South East London where ‘widespread mouse activity’ was uncovered
The Queen Mary’s Hospital in Sidcup, Kent, where mouldy chopping boards and dirty cutlery were spotted by inspectors
The shadow health secretary Andy Burnham has warned that the poor hygiene conditions are a result of the government concentrating its efforts on NHS reforms.
Mr Burnham called on the Health Secretary to order an urgent investigations into the findings.
Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said the poor hygiene conditions were a sign of hospitals struggling to cope
He told the Sun: ‘Hospitals are struggling to cope as the Government wastes billions on a back-office reshuffle.
‘On their watch, situations have developed below deck.’
Environmental inspectors also found that even the most primitive efforts at ensuring hygiene are not being put into place.
At South East London’s Queen Mary’s, Sidcup, cutlery was put away whilst still dirty and chopping boards used for preparing food were discovered to be mouldy.
Catering staff at Rochdale Infirmary also served up warm vacuum-packed sandwiches to patients.
A health watchdog group has condemned the findings as ‘outrageous’.
Roger Goss, co-director of health watchdog Patient Concern, speaking to the Sun, said: ‘If these were restaurants they would be put out of business and the owners would be put in court.’
The findings come after a hospital campaign to ensure that more staff washed their hands regularly was hailed as a success that has saved up to 10,000 lives.
The high-profile Clean Your Hands campaign to encourage doctors and nurses to use soap and water or alcohol gel between patients has saved more lives than any medical development for a generation, according to the report published in the British Medical Journal today.
Following the launch of the drive in 2004, the amount of soap and alcoholic hand rub bought by NHS trusts almost tripled.
Over the same period of time MRSA rates in hospitals fell by more than half, while there was a significant drop in the number of Clostridium difficile infections.
Rats have been spotted at a number of hospitals – including one rotting in a cupboard at Wolverhampton’s West Park Hospital
Traces of Listeria bacteria, which can cause meningitis and septicemia, were found in hospital sandwiches
Sheldon Paul Stone who led the study, estimated that around 10,000 lives were saved because of the campaign which encouraged medical staff to take the simple step of washing their hands.
The study also found that hospital trust procurement of soap and alcohol hand rub rose from a combined 21.8ml to 59.8ml per patient bed day over the period.
Studies in 2004 showed one in four doctors and nurses in Britain still did not wash their hands reliably between every patient.
Warm vacuum-packed sandwiches were dished up to patients at Rochdale Infirmary in Greater Manchester
The campaign which ended in 2010 cost £500,000 over four years.
Researchers from University College London Medical School and the Health Protection Agency say ‘strong and independent associations’ between the rise in soap orders and the fall in infection rates ‘remained after taking account of all other interventions’.
The number of MRSA infections fell to 1,114 for the period 2011-12.
By TOM GOODENOUGH | Copied from: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2150604/Rats-mice-cockroaches-discovered-inspectors-lurking-dirty-NHS-hospital-kitchens.html#ixzz4LBRLdZ9S