Flu's a pain in the @rse ...

Play was stopped last week owing to a visit to the surgery for some paperwork.  A large male homo erectus was coughing loudly and deeply all over everyone in the waiting room and had about as much of a social conscience as Adolf (yes THE Adolf).

It's a sign of the times though isn't it?  It made me think of my time in the NHS.  I used to work as an IT engineer in Cornwall.  You were given a geographical area of responsibilitiy and told to get on with it basically.  I'll never forget some of the things that I saw though in the lack of responsibility in the medical staff:  doctors and nurses coming in sick and with obvious cold and flu symptoms, a lack of hygene when going from area to area and the ever present 'Come in for treatment for your own ailment and get a bonus disease OR condition FREE from us for when you leave!!!'

Is it fair to leave the blame for cross-contamination on the NHS staff though?  In some circumstances - yes - definitely.  If you're a health professional and you know that you have a highly contagious condition, you have no business taking it in to the hospital environment.  There is NO excuse.  However, NHS managers put doctors, nurses and ancilliary staff under a lot of increasing pressure with regard to time off for sickness.  Various policies and procedures were introduced to the Royal Cornwall Hospital to try to curtail the amount of sick days that staff were taking off.  The end result was that you could be disciplined if you had too many and could lose pay.  Hence staff dragging themselves into work with highly contagious diseases, cross contamination in areas that should be sterile (eg operating theatres etc).  Hospitals can be very stressful environments to work in - stress reduces the body's ability to cope with illnesses - see the connection?  Maybe the managers need to give the genuinely ill workers a break?

If you're ill with the flu - stay home and keep it to yourself ... sharing isn't always nice : )  If you're about and about and are coughing and sneezing, use a frigging hankie or tissue!  Remember that old advert?  'Coughs and sneezes spread diseases'.


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