Posted by: Tony Copperfield13 February 2013
Solihull practice, I feel your pain: your carpet ripping, ceiling stripping, skirting-board smashing pain. Because a couple of years ago, our practice, like yours, had a visit from some stern-faced, clipboard-wielding infection-control Nazis.
And, like my Solihull colleagues, who’ve had to dismember their practice because of some theoretical risk involving unspecified pathogens lurking in carpets and behind skirting boards waiting to pounce on the unsuspecting and immunocompromised, I, too had to watch my surgery being dismantled at the behest of jobsworths with obsessive/compulsive handwashing issues.
It still brings tears to my eyes. Out went the carpets, swapped for horrible, cold, clinical lino. Out went the metal speculae, in favour of flimsy plastic versions which warp and buckle before you so much as glimpse the cervix. And out went the curtains, replaced by nothing other than the dank, despairing gloom of a typical Basildonian day as seen through bare, frosted glass. Worst of all, though, was the ban on waiting room toys: there are few sights more moving than a funeral pyre of toxic teddies.
Only a few weeks after this trauma, we discovered that it was a complete load of bollocks. Most of these recommendations were an over-reaction, sorry and all that, we seem to have ripped the soul out of your practice unnecessarily.
First us, now Solihull. Even the CQC – generally seen as the apotheosis of rigid, bureaucracy-spawning heavy-handed authority – says these draconian detox measures are unnecessary. But it’s too late now, isn’t it? Health and safety have done their worst, and we’re left in a world of lino, of plastic speculae, a place devoid of toys and curtains and skirting boards: a world that is free of germs but free of hope, too.
So can I suggest that, before the CQC starts inspecting practices, it inspects Infection Control Teams? Because if they can be deemed unfit for purpose, they can’t do the same to us, can they?