Thousands of people are dying needlessly in UK hospitals, and the silence is deafening. Last year, 22 people died every day from a simple bacteria called C. difficile. Some hospitals manageed to record over 100 deaths from this bug in just 12 short months. In the UK as a whole, the C. difficile death rate is exploding.
Take a look at the following table. It looks at the death rates of six hospitals. The first three had the highest death rates during 2003-07, the second three hospitals had the lowest death rates.
Do you notice anything odd? The second group of hospitals recorded no deaths whatever from this bug. That is right; no C. difficle corpses in the hospital morgue.
The top three hospitals had death rates in three digits. These hospitals were wasting people at the rate of one a week. Ironically, the worst hospital - the Royal United in Bath - had a comparatively good year in 2007. Only 59 people died, the previous year it wasted 94.
There is nothing inevitable about this calamity. Some hospitals can consistently avoid their patients dying, while other hospitals have people dropping dead like flys.
Let us be honest. We all know why there isn't more outrage. It is the victims; they are mostly pensioners. Somehow the idea of an elderly person crapping their life away in some anonymous hospital ward doesn't engender much sympathy.
This issue really upsets me. It says that there is something really rotten in the heart of this country. We all know that with more effort, and better hygiene management, these deaths could be avoided. Yet, we really don't care enough to insist that our hospitals are kept clean. Let us all hope we don't get old.
Did anyone mention MRSA?