IN raicent weeks ye’se wull hae read o a nummer o infection daiths in Glesga hospitals. Cuid these hae bin preventit? The investigation bi the government’s Lord Advocate an their COPFS is conteenuin. Whit we dae ken is that the prevention o healthcare infections is cuivert bi patient safety law, an that this hus niver bin implemented in Scotland.

NHS Scotland, thegaither wi its “quality assurance bodies” HIS an HEI, hae failed an refused tae comply wi the law. This is unco dangerous an a betrayal o the public. Insteid o the force o the law an its systemic methods o ensuring safety, we hae weak NHS guidance. Keep mind, we are daelin here wi a heich risk o daith. The approach o these bodies luiks lik gross misconduct in public office.

Hou big a problem are these healthcare infections? There is nae reliable data fir Scotland as unlawfully we duin awa wi oor independent health regulator. We dae hae oor national clinical director makkin widd claims anent us bein warld leadin (“No better place in the Western world” he said) – but a quick swatch o global stats foun this claim tae be untrue. Globally we ranked 14th! Resairch estimates that thair wull be a few hunner infecgtion relatit daiths a year.

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Mony o these wull be preventable bi straich forrit basic hygiene measuirs; some technical controls sic as air filtration an properly designed ventilation systems. Luikin at the weak approach tae infections in NHS Scotland, then Glesga isnae a surprise. Thair wull be the samen kindae daiths athort the kintra but they fir ordinar happen ane at a time an gang aamaist unnoticed. Besides haein naebody regulatin tae prevent hairm, or enforce the law, uniquely Scotland disnae hae a coroner system. An earlier Lord Advocate duin a pouer grab an duin awa wi oors in 1800. We are nou the anely place in the English-speakin warld athoot a coroner sytem – e’en the Wizard o Oz hud a coroner!! Ah’m sorry tae hae tae tell ye’se that oor system o investigatin daiths fails aa the international legal tests.

International an UK law requires a system that is independent o government. The abuses o oor uniquely dreidfu “system” shuid be plain as parritch tae aabody. Failures are endlessly repeated. Mony daiths are no e’en bin reportit tae the Lord Advocate else in the case o certain infections tae the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Oot o 1200 adverse event related daiths in the past five year that shuid hae bin reported tae COPFS/SFIU then 36 wir actually investigatit!! An naebody seems tae care.

We hae hud a chaunce tae stoap these daiths but the major chaunce wis tragically missed. The SNP government set up twa public inquiries tae investigate healthcare infection daiths. Thair wis the Vale o Leven Hospital inquiry intil 50 sic daiths. Concurrently thair wis the Penrose Inquiry intae the contaminated bluid scandal that wid hae kill’t anent 200 fowk in Scotland and hairmed mony mair. Thae inquiries cost £20 million an 10 years wark – thon’s a wheen o guid lunches fir lawyers an ceevil servants! They baith utterly failed tae dael wi the infection risks. They didnae e’en mak mention o the COSHH regulations oan infections, or ither patient safety law! This is the law which, gin it hud bin complied wi, wid hae preventit the daiths. Here ma friens lies madness!

Jist nou we hae HEI responsible fir daein quality assurance in oor hospitals, yet they queerly disregaird the law. A previous chief inspector gien inquiry evidence, and said she didnae believe in regulation or law. Unbelievably this wis oan a major cause o preventable daiths. Ah’m afraid wi this attitude the Glesga infections are likesay nae surprise tae me.

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Time an agane oor legal system fails us. Whether we are independent, pairt o the UK, or pairt o the international community, we must hae a lawful justice system. Gin we tak Scotland as an independent kintra an uise the international standard o the World Justice Project index then we wid fail verra badly. Oan the European table we wid be at the bottom. The infections daiths at Glesga in an unregulated NHS wull be the aa too real consequences.

So whit’s tae be duin? It’s an extremely serious problem, a hidden an ongaun disaster. First o aa it maun be recognised bi thaim in charge – wi nae mair o the constant failure tae admit thair ocht wrang ava. Spoutin nonsense that we’re the best in the warld disnae help. The law is compulsory; no Scotland’s optional guidance oan infection control. It needs a full commitment frae Scottish meenisters tae uphaud the law, perteecularly COSHH. It needs tae be warkt oot whit the law requires. It needs an effective plan fir the NHS tae comply wi it, an effective regulator (wi teeth!!) an proper enforcement. The law (applied as it shuid be!) gies us the means an the requirement tae solve an roup an stoup eradicate fir aye healthcare infection daiths. Sae why the hell are we no daein this?

At the hinnerend o last year, we at the patient safety group ASAP-NHS asked the health meenister Jeane Freeman an the First Meenister Nicola Sturgeon tae implement existing law oan patient safety. This includes COSHH regulations. Fir some reason they still refuse tae dae this. Delivery o healthcare is devolved – but the law that governs healthcare applies tae the hale o the UK. The rest o the UK complies – why no us?

The daily preventable daith toll o people in Scotland must be ayont politics. Oor government must implement the law nou. A terrible price is bein paid. It’s pitten the government itsel at risk. European wide law means that we hae tae apply patient safety law. This isnae an option! An ilk day’s delay in daein this wull affect somebody ye ken. Aiblins fatally.