If there's anything to be learnt in politics, it's that photo opportunities are great for public opinion. Especially involving children, the elderly or ill people. So of course, Prime Minister David Cameron and his deputy Nick Clegg would be found in a hospital ward, speaking to patients. However, their little chat with the patients was interrupted by a very irate surgeon.
Doctor Nunn, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon of Guy's Hospital, took offence to the camera crew and political aides who did not adhere to the strict hygiene rules of the ward (i.e. rolled up sleeves and scrubbed arms), which were put in place to prevent to spread of superbugs in hospitals. It was reported that a ward sister had authorised the staff's attire because they weren't coming into close contact with patients. However true that may be, I do feel more inclined to agree with the doctor. With the NHS in the state it is in most of the time, it's hard enough to be able to keep a hospital clean and safe for the people who go in to get better. The last thing you want to do is to go into a hospital only to contract a horrible infection and die as a result. Doctor Nunn was only thinking of his responsibility to his patients, and rightly so.
I am not medically trained by any means, but I do think that the state of hospitals in the UK could stand to do better. I miss the days when I could walk into a hospital and be overwhelmed by the smell of antiseptic and at the stark cleanliness of the building. Then again, I have been called a bit of a weirdo for actually finding the smell comforting. But why shouldn't it be? Unless someone accidentally dropped a bottle of Dettol, I think it is a sign of good hygiene to be able to actually smell how clean a supposedly sterile environment is. Or at least be able to tell at a glance how clean a hospital is if their cleaning products are odourless. It could well be that the reports of infections such as MRSA are only feared because it's being reported more, but given how many hospitals are under review, have closed or are under going investigation due to outbreaks of infection or accused of neglect, I'm more inclined to think declining staff care and increased bureaucracy are to blame.
Doctors like Nunn are a credit to their hospitals for not putting up with the bull of publicity stunts at the risk of patient health. Sure, he came across as a bit of an arsehole about it, but in the medical world, I think someone who isn't afraid to storm up to the country's leaders and berate them on camera for allowing their staff to contaminate a ward is someone who can be a good example for other doctors in the country.