Thursday, October 11, 2007

A growth of administrators.

I'm sure that's the collective noun for administrators. If it's not, it should be.

Moves are afoot to prosecute a hospital for negligence, perhaps even manslaughter. If it happens, it won't be the last one.

Why? Well, there are cleaner pigstys in the UK. People have been dying of hospital-acquired infection at an appalling rate, and this hospital's management (like others) did nothing about it other than try to hide it. Farm animal housing is subject to strict regulation: it appears housing our sick is not. If you treat an animal the way some of those patients were treated you'd be in prison now.

The article includes a little picture of the sink in the 'clean' facility. Click on it if you dare, and try to imagine the areas that aren't designated 'clean'.

The blame for this lies with administrators, as always, but they will deftly shift it onto medical staff. They have even tried to blame visitors to the hospital for carrying in the disease. Evidently, the fact that the sick people are in the hospital, and visitors are generally fairly healthy (as long as they don't visit too often) has escaped them.

Administrators, not doctors, run our hospitals, They are run as if they were a business, and a badly-run business at that. If you get sick, you're better off self-medicating from a supermarket. They're much cleaner, and are most likely staffed by trained nurses who have been 'downsized' from the local hospital so that the Grand Idiot of Admin can have a new carpet in his office.

The once-feared Matron is no more, a casualty of our wonderful government's money-stealing policies. Hospitals' own cleaning staff similarly went into the dole queue in favour of inexperienced, inefficient, but most of all cheap private firms. Since this administration was responsible for removing everyone whose job it was to ensure the place is clean, why are they now so surprised to find it's not?

The current furore is all down to our new Prime Minibrain's wish to make himself look good by 'cleaning up' hospitals. This 'cleaning up' involves him taking more money from them, funnily enough.

What he thinks we've all forgotten is that, before he moved up to the top job, he was Chancellor of the Exchequer for ten years. The man in charge of the national budget, in other words.

The same man who cut back on real staff in hospitals and filled them with worthless managers.

Yes, he's now promising to clean up the mess he made. I won't hold my breath, unless I happen to be in a hospital in which case I won't eat, drink or breathe until I'm clear.

He must think we have the memories of goldfish. Does he believe the entire population wake up each morning with no memory of the day before? It seems many do, but there are still a few who retain some measure of recall. A few who won't forget, and who will remind those who do that our empty-promise-maker of the day is the same man who caused all the problems he's promising to fix. He won't fix them. He can't. The cushy managerial jobs are all occupied by his pals.

Some of these hospital managers have spent tens of thousands on consultants who apparently tell them ways to save money. Isn't it the manager's job to know how to do this?

This tells me two things:

One, the managers aren't capable of doing the job they're paid to do and should be fired.

Two, the managers are wasteful of taxpayer's money and should be fired.

Scratch fired. They should be publicly humiliated and then infected with something disgusting.

It won't happen. Administrators are a cancer in the body of the UK. Admin departments grow, they never shrink. They consume all resources and supplant real workers until the business dies. The only cure is surgery, and the only ones who can order the surgery are politicians. Since politicians are a country's brain tumour, the order will never come.

Perhaps it should be 'a malignancy of administrators'? I think I prefer that one. It's more accurate.

Watch for the prosecutions. The hospitals will be fined, the staff will be cut, but no administrators will leave. New administrators will be employed to work out how best to squeeze the last drops of life from the one remaining doctor and two nurses who now run fifteen wards and an emergency department.

Further malignancies of administrators will work out whether the doctor could manage just as well with one nurse. Or no nurses.

Finally, there will be whole subgroup of committees (a metastasis of administration?) dedicated to ensuring that if anything goes wrong, it can be definitely shown to be the doctor's fault.

If you're planning to visit the UK, drive carefully. Very, very carefully. If you injure yourself, wrap it in parcel tape until you get home. Under no circumstances do you want to end up in a hospital here.

Unless your interests include collecting unusual intestinal diseases.


ThatGreenyFlower said...

Well, they're better than they were before the days of Lister, right? Lots of infections that we used to die from have been eradicated. I'm not defending filth, and I will be sure to bring parcel tape if I visit the UK, but there's always a plague. I maintain that we're still better off than we were at any time in the past. But you're a clever could probably find data to support the contrary opinion if you wished.

My home sink has looked not unlike the one in the photo from time to time. Once again, however, I'm not saying that such scummy ickiness is ok. It's just not the reason people die from Clostridium dificile. I have a much bigger problem with hospital nurses being so overworked and short-handed that they tell fellow human beings to shit in their own beds. That is much more likely to be where the true problem lies.

ThatGreenyFlower said...

P.S. Or should I say, " which the true problem lies"?!

Romulus Crowe said...

Hi Greeny

I'm not having a go at the medical staff of hospitals, but at those who decide on their funding.

This particular infection is spread through contact, through bad hygeine, through dirt. I don't blame the nurses for the dirt, I don't really feel too harshly towards the cleaners.

Nurses have no time to catch a breath these days - our population is increasing but nursing staff numbers are dropping. The cleaners work with what they have. What they don't have is training in hospital-specific issues, nor do they have effective cleaning materials.

All of that is down to cost cutting. Cuts always hit the working staff, the ones who make things happen. Never the administrators.

So yes, it's caused by bad cleaning, which is in turn caused by bad management. Hospital administration used to be a small department in charge of things like making sure everyone was paid on time. Now it makes decisions that only doctors should be making.

Nurses take the flak from patients because they're the ones the patients see. The suited men can go through a whole career in a hospital without setting foot in a ward. They're the ones who should be getting blasted. They never are.

ThatGreenyFlower said...

I guess that we agree. The nursing crisis--can I call it a crisis?--is definitely a problem brought about by the men (and women) in suits. You know, the ones making CEO salaries?

It disturbs me that people call for nurses and can't get anyone to come. It disturbs me that the housekeeping staff are so poorly compensated that 1) they don't really care about the work they do and 2) the hospital staff hires people who don't understand why they are asked/trained to do things the way they are.

There are a couple of clinics in the US that are kind of "out there" according to the standard medical model; everyone from the housekeeping staff on up to the physicians is on salary--the SAME salary. They claim that everyone's voice is heard in terms of decision-making about the running of the business. I think it's brilliant.

My dream/hope/whatever is to someday start a clinic like that, but given that my student loan payments are so phenomenally huge (about the size of my mortgage payments, actually) that I won't be able to until I'm in my 60s.

...Oh, I've taken up too much space here. Sorry. I love the dialogue, though. This is something I think about.

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