Monthly Archives: February 2017

How to fix the NHS – in 45 seconds flat

Girl showing stopwatch
If each of us took just 45 seconds with soap and water after everything we do, most NHS problems would simply go away

45 seconds is the time most people take to sing one verse of God Save the Queen twice.

Same length as the official version played at major events, like the FA Cup or international athletics meets.

It’s also the same time health experts recommend we should all take to wash our hands.

Not just a wiggle under the tap. Or just a rinse. The full Monty with soap and hot water – including between the fingers and backs of hands.

OK, big deal.

Soap and water to the rescue

So how does this rescue the NHS?

According to the latest media uproar, the system is drowning under the sheer number of patients. A&E departments swamped, operations backed up for months, not enough beds to care for people properly.

To spell it out more clearly – way too many patients.

Huh?

The NHS is a massive organisation with a budget this year of £107 billion, how can there be too many patients?

Because a lot of them SHOULDN’T BE THERE.

Our political train smash

Thanks to political machinating twelve years ago, most GPs don’t work weekends any more, so patients go to A&E instead of their local clinic. Except – surprise, surprise – the human body doesn’t take the weekend off, just like professional hospitals don’t.

Because when you’re sick, you’re sick. And you can’t wait around haemorrhaging all over the place because some politico bribed doctors for votes by letting them loose on the golf course.

Yeah, but politicians don’t sign up to the Hippocratic Oath – or any other code of conduct, it seems. For yonks doctors knew that their whole career was on call, day or night. They even made house calls.

Now, thanks to Westminster – none of whom are practicing doctors, last time anyone looked – you either call an ambulance, or you go to A&E. An organisational train smash.

And that’s not just weekends. It’s every day.

Because appointment times are so backed up, it takes a month to get to your GP anyway. Even then, there’s hours in reception, waiting to get your 5 minutes. Not exactly helpful with that headache killing you, or the pain in your chest that won’t go away.

Wash the whole problem away

So how does washing our hands help?

Think about it. Most everyday ailments are caused by infection of some kind. Tummy troubles, respiratory problems, allergies – viruses or bacteria at work to make you feel lousy.

And how do you catch them?

By swallowing them, or breathing them in, or sometimes by absorption through the skin. Nearly always introduced into your body by your hands – those things you do everything with – touch, feel, hold, grab, move, rub, scratch. Oh yes, and eat.

At the same time, we all know the importance of hygiene – that there are viruses and bacteria everywhere, waiting to do us down. But somehow washing our hands never seems to be on the radar.

We’re too OK, most of the time. Unaware that our hands become loaded with germs with everything we do. That they need constant “de-germing” to keep us safe. And that ordinary soap and water for 45 seconds will get rid of 99.9% of them.

Dishing the dirt – on ourselves

It’s more like we have a death wish. Because, believe it or not:

OK, so if 95% of us aren’t washing our hands properly, how many of us are falling ill from side-stepping 45 seconds of soap and water?

Probably at least half – maybe even a lot more.

But suppose we DID remember – and DID NOT fall ill as a result?

No need to go to the Doc at all, hey? No need to run to the NHS because the Doc’s not available. No crowds, no hours of waiting, no A&E staff stressed out from non-stop pressure. Problem sorted.

And all from 45 seconds of easy self hygiene.

Brexit from germs

A lot better than the politicians can do, because they’ll never get it right. Unless they can see votes coming out of soap and water, they won’t think about it anyway. They play best at down and dirty – and we’re all paying for it.

Wash our hands of them and our £107 billion NHS organisation suddenly becomes the amazing support mechanism it’s supposed to be. Brexit from germs.

Not bad for 45 seconds.

God Save the Queen.

Copyright: nomadsoul1 / 123RF Stock Photo and dolgachov/ 123RF Stock Photo

So, taken to the cleaners – by yourself, or by your cleaning service?

Stealing the pound
Are you robbing yourself blind, paying your cleaning service peanuts?

Not by your cleaning service, that’s for sure. What are your cleaners on, £7.50 an hour? Not exactly a fortune is it?

So if anybody’s taking you to the cleaners, it must be you, yourself.

Tight-fisted on your cleaning account – and robbing yourself blind doing it.

How does that work?

Well, your cleaning service probably wants to do more already. Not much of a future, wiping down desks, hoovering around and taking out the rubbish, is there?

So any outfit worth it’s salt would like to do more.

Better change thinking

Not easy with you being so stingy. It’s only cleaning, why pay more?

Only cleaning, right. Nobody wants to work in a pigsty, we can see that part.

A lick and promise, make it look tidy – that’s all it’s worth.

As if.

What about taking out germs as well as the trash? Most shared workplaces are full of them, ever thought how much they cost you?

OK, it’s a bit more than the six days off sick that most staff take every year. From germs probably picked up at the office. Everybody working together in the same space, catching a bug is inevitable.

So that’s already £522 a head for every absentee – we hope your cleaning service is worth more than that.

It’s only half the story though.

Unwell at work costs

How about the times staff struggle into work unwell, feeling like the end of the world but determined to be at their desks? Company heroes, yes – but hardly there at all. Head pounding, running a temperature, about as much real use to you as soggy newspaper.

Been there yourself, right? We all have.

But did you realise we’re like that almost 60 days a year? That’s three working months – nursing a cough or flu, but unwavering. Toughing out tummy cramps. Probably doing more harm than good.

Any idea how much that costs? Well take a look here and prepare to be shocked. As much as quarter of your salary bill down the tubes, and more.

And all from germs picked up at the office.

Which you know is true. First, from all the sniffs you can hear within ten feet of your door. And second, because the media are always banging on about it. Scary headlines to grab the eye when there’s no assassination to talk about.

Lots and lots of money, yes?

Except don’t go blaming your cleaning service. At £7.50 an hour, it’s hardly anything to do with them.

But it could be, if you’d let them.

All the way to the bank

Get them to add health protection to the swamp out service they’re already providing. Even if it costs triple, you’ll still be saving a mint.

Better still, pay them a decent fee – enough to eliminate germs entirely – and your staff unwell-at-work costs could drop to nothing.

Which would bring you what? Better productivity, higher staff morale, stronger commitment, mushrooming feel-good – you could use some of that.

Worth a bit more than £7.50 an hour, don’t you think?

And lot better than the ride to the cleaners you’ve currently lucked on yourself, thinking you’ve chopped costs to the bone.

Go on, give them a call. Then see what your balance sheet looks like at the end of the year.

Feels good to clean up, doesn’t it?

Picture Copyright: konstantynov / 123RF Stock Photo

Why cultures that eat with their hands are more germ-safe than we are

Indian family eating
More to savour, more to enjoy – and ALWAYS washing hands before anything

Germ-safe and healthy, despite what you might think.

Because whenever did you hear of a norovirus outbreak in India? Or Morocco? Or Thailand? Or Indonesia?

Not very often, right?

Not that it doesn’t happen.

Delhi belly is a world famous killjoy. But not always caused by overpowering curry.

More frequently, it’s accepted as as a lapse in ritual.

Hand hygiene is a way of life

Because the unbreakable etiquette in all countries that eat food with their fingers is – to always wash your hands first.

Not exactly what we do is it?

Though our whole lifestyle often involves eating with our fingers – sandwiches, wraps, pizza, burgers – hardly ever do we remember to wash our hands at all. Always assuming we can find a place to wash them in the first place.

It’s not in our culture, it’s not in our lifestyle.

And thanks to messy eating options like Nando’s or Sticky Fingers, we even get it backwards. That hand basin in the middle of the restaurant is for after, not before. Sticky fingers, smeary mouth. Right in front of everybody.

Weird.

Which shows just how iffy our knife and fork thinking is.

How can they be safer to eat with, or keep germs away, when our hands might have gone a whole day without washing? Office, bus, taxi, tube – plenty of places to pick up bugs. And pick them up off the fork into our mouths as we eat.

Respect your body’s temple

In Muslim countries, wudu or washing hands is pious ritual, far more than hygienic necessity. Being clean of body and mind is essential in all things about life. Hindus call it abhisheka . Among Jews it is netilat yadayim. All of them remove germs.Ritual washing

Not so ourselves, with our cruise-ship virus, our Don’t-Wash-Hands-Disease, our norovirus.

Beyond good, basic hygiene there is nothing in our culture to require us to wash our hands before meals – or at any other time. Hard statistics bear this out:

Unthinkable in cultures that eat with their hands. Probably even sacrilegious. Which when you reflect on the philosophy of My Body is a Temple makes a whole lot of sense.

Much better than writhing in agony with tummy cramps, violent vomiting and unbearable dairrhoea.

And look at the feel-good  people get from eating with their fingers. All senses working together to enjoy – seeing, touching, tasting, smelling, and hearing the sounds inside your mouth reminding you this is fun.

Wash our hands and we can have fun too.

Without the all-too-often queasy feeling that all is not well.

Enjoy!

Picture Copyright: Copyright: szefei / 123RF Stock Photo and alefbet / 123RF Stock Photo