Hospital Acquired Covid spread through EKHUFT Hospitals because of unclean fomites Trust secretary implies
Not to long ago we asked the question – Is this the stupiest person in England?
We stated in our honest opinion, Ms Alison Fox (pictured), who is presently Trust Secretary for East Kent Hospital University Foundation Trust [EKHUFT] was the stupidiest person in England.
Do you know what a fomite is?
A fomite refers to inanimate objects that can carry and spread disease and infectious agents. So such things as clothes, utensils, computer keyboards, lightswitches, mobile phones, microwaves, doorhandles, stephoscopes, and furniture for example.
In a response to an Environmental Information Request about Hospital Acquired Covid, in Feb 2021, Ms Alison Fox, who is presently Trust Secretary for EKHUFT stated:
“The Trust takes the view that your request does not fall within the ambit of Regulation 2 of The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and makes the distinction that the transmission of the virus [Covid] is primarily from person to person/fomites and is not intrinsically mediated by, or reliant on, any of the elements referred to in Regulation 2.”
This begs the question why we had to wear masks if Covid was not transmitted via the air or atmosphere, as per Reg 2.
Moving on, for those of you who are not aware the SERCO cleaning contract was taken back in house by EKHUFT in 2018. And during the pandemic visitors, in the main, were not allowed to see patients in EKHUFT hospitals.
What Ms Alison Fox response implies is that the primary transmission route for Hospital Acquired Covid was fomites – unclean inanimate objects in EKHUFT hospitals. Her response implies there had been a lack of cleaning of hospital fomites by EKHUFT cleaning staff, as it is they who are responsible for cleaning all hospital fomites.
We ask Ms Alison Fox, how it came to pass that hospital fomites were allowed to become so contaminated with Covid to infect patients who entered hospital without Covid?
Would Ms Alison Fox’s kindly explain how all the cleaning staff went missing in action during the pandemic and left so many fomites unclean, allowing Covid to spread to patients who did not have Covid when they entered hospital?
This of course didn’t happen. The cleaning staff worked there socks off to keep all Trust hospitals as clean as possible during the pandemic. But Ms Alison Fox makes it clear, in her response, patients who went into hospital without Covid, acquired it in hospital because EKHUFT fomites were contaminated with Covid.
Ms Fox’s explanation does not bear up under the scrutiny of the science. The science that proves the risk of fomite Covid infection was “exaggerated” was in the public domain when she responded.
In Sept 2020 and again in Jan 2021 it was reported in The Lancet:
Low risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission by fomites in real-life conditions
Exaggerated risk of transmission of COVID-19 by fomites
Scientific evidence existed which all but disproved Ms Alison Fox’s response. Let’s not forget she has NO medical training, or any qualified clinical cleaning knowledge.
At the time of the request we stated that Covid-19 was an airborne transmitted illness, but Ms Alison fox’s response was [Covid] “is not intrinsically mediated by, or reliant on, any of the elements referred to in Regulation 2.” [Air/Atmosphere].
Just last month, April 2021, the Lancet published:
Ten scientific reasons in support of airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2
On Oct 26 2020, the UK government’s Chief Medical Adviser and head of the public health Chris Whitty via the GOV.UK website stated:
[Covid] Transmission risk is highest where people are in close proximity (within 2 metres). Airborne transmission can occur in health and care settings in which procedures or support treatments that generate aerosols are performed. Airborne transmission may also occur in poorly ventilated indoor spaces, particularly if individuals are in the same room together for an extended period of time.
So professional medical experts have stated Covid is not really transmitted by fomites, but is transmitted via the air, just as we said. We know Hospital cleaners cleaned the fomites, regardless of Ms Alison Fox’s tactless response. And we continue to stand by our claim that Ms Alison Fox is the stupidiest person in England, in our honest opinion. We feel well supported by the science in making our claim as well, and her exact words
Ms Alison Fox might take umbridge with our claim as – the stupidiest person in England – in our honest opinion . The Trust might instruct their lawyers – Clyde & Co – to send us another threatening letter demanding an apology and threatening to sue. Once again we’ll stand by our convictions and the science and rebuff any such approach.
The Shepway Vox Team
Dissent is NOT a Crime
In the old days (80s) everything was cleaned by the wards or the departments own cleaners. Everything! Nothing like going backwards is there? Why are people in positions of authority so thick, it beggars belief!
I must declare an interest before commenting that I joined the NHS when it was one year old and worked in related establishments such a medical school and the medical research council.
Joining the South-East Metropolitan Hospital Board in 1973 as the newly created Regional Scientific Officer I found myself in the middle of the first of many attempts to ‘improve’ the service. Originally the Tory government led by Heath had intended to abolish Regional Committees and deal directly with District committees which would be coterminous with local government districts. Since this would mean 92, they decided to not only back track but created another layer, the Area Health Authority which was coterminous with counties. This was supposed to create a degree of integration between Social and health care. Now 48 years on, numerous reorganizations later, I suspect we will face the Hancock reorganization.
The real problem illustrated by the Stupidity at the local trust is that successive Tory governments including New Labour thought that hospitals could be made more efficient by being run by people with experience at a senior level in business. Unfortunately, public hospitals cannot be run like businesses for several reasons.
You cannot control the workload, witness Covid.
The staff structure is not pyramidal but a series of parallel with cross reporting both between and upwards.
Senior staff need to be out and about not sitting in their offices waiting for problems to be brought to them. Nor should they be attempting to answer questions they clearly do not understand. The more inexcusable when a short walk to consult senior staff with the relevant knowledge. Even at region we spent a lot of time meeting staff in hospitals and knew what their problems were.
I agree with JM, outsourcing cleaning has been a disaster.
The time taken to set up testing in the early days of Covid could I am sure been ameliorated at least if Regional Authorities still existed. In all probability a senior scientist would have had a fair idea where PCR machines not only within the service but also in local universities might be available.