Trams blamed for mice in chippy

By Gordon Smith

An Edinburgh chip shop owner has blamed the capital’s tramworks for a mice infestation that led to the immediate closure of his premises.

The discovery was made at Carlo Corolla’s Clifton Fish and Chicken Bar in the busy Haymarket area of the city following a routine inspection by food hygiene officials in February this year.

Appearing for sentencing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, Corolla, 41, was fined £1200 for the breaches at the Clifton Terrace premises on February 3rd 2009.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court

Edinburgh Sheriff Court: Image Courtesy Deadline Scotland

Corolla of Main Street, West Calder, had previously admitted failing to ensure he kept his premises clean, and failing to ensure materials used for wrapping food were not contaminated.

The court heard a dead mouse had been found in the basement of the chip shop, along with a number of droppings. Tests of ice cream wafers by inspectors were also found to contain rodent urine.

Fiscal depute Sally Clark, told the court that food hygiene officials believed the chip shop posed an “imminent risk to customers health” and as a result, was closed immediately. She added that a boarded up window may have allowed the vermin to enter the building.

Defence agent Jim Grant said: “He has been an operator of a takeaway food business for about six years and three at the present premises, without incident.

“He wasn’t aware that he had any mice in the premises, had he known he would have dealt with matters immediately.

“He regrets the situation and would never knowingly put his customers at risk.”

Speaking last night, Mr Corolla said “The work has disturbed their [the mice] nests and everything. All of the shop owners here complain about the tram works. I have not noticed any loss of business yet, hopefully it will stay that way.”

Superbug levels squashed by half

by Grainne Byrne

Levels of MRSA and C. difficile in Scotland have dropped to record low levels since records began.   Latest figures from Health Protection Scotland show that levels of C.diff have contracted by 42% and figures for MRSA are down 25%.

Cabinet Secretary for Health, Nicola Sturgeon, said the reduction in infection levels are hopeful and show that efforts to eradicate superbugs are yielding positive results. 

Ms Sturgeon said: “I have made tackling hospital infections a top priority and I am encouraged that today’s figures show our strenuous efforts appear to be reaping rewards. 

The Health Secretary says that despite the promising figures in the first half of 2009, we must not rest on our laurels. 

“We are confident that we now have the right initiatives in place and the figures back this up. We are seeing significant and sustained reductions in infections which is good news for patients throughout Scotland. 

“However, there is no room for complacency. I want us to continue this excellent progress as we drive to eliminate all avoidable infections from our hospitals.”

In 2008, 18 patients at the Vale of Leven Hospital died as a result of a failure to tackle an outbreak of C.diff.  The total figure for deaths caused by C.diff in 2008 was 711, with 182 in greater Glasgow and Clyde NHS Board.

The Scottish Government are investing more than £50 million on initiatives such as MRSA screening, spot checks, and zero-tolerance on hygiene procedures to reduce infection rates by 30 per cent by 2010.

Public to report NHS hygiene failures to Scottish Government

handwashingBy Domenica Goduto

Patients and visitors to hospitals are being encouraged to report hygiene failures on the part of the NHS directly to the Scottish Government.

This measure is among several announced by the Government today as part of a new campaign to improve cleanliness standards in order to combat hospital superbugs. 

Other measures include random hygiene inspections and the creation of a government organization, the Care Environment Inspectorate, specifically dedicated to wiping out infections such as MRSA and C. diff.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon announced that the £1 million that will be spent on the scheme each year is an indication of the Government’s determination to tackle the problem.

She stated: “We have put in place a comprehensive package of measures, including boosting spending by 260 per cent, but it’s crucial that we – and more importantly the public – are assured that this work is delivering the high standards everyone expects.

“The Care Environment Inspectorate’s stringent inspection regime will do just that.

The initiative is the result of a consultation held last year in reponse to the C.diff outbreak that killed 18 people at the Vale of Leven hospital in 2007.

More stringent hygiene standards have already lowered the number of MRSA and C. diff cases since 2006, when 40 people across the Lothians died as a result of the latter infection.

Handwashing regulations are being more strictly adhered to, and the appointment of nurse wardens to each ward has helped with the enforcement of cleanliness standards.

Junior doctors have also been warned not to list C. diff as a contributing factor on death certificates unless they are absolutely positive that this is the case.

Sturgeon also notes that the appointment of a chief inspector to oversee the Government’s efforts in this area will be a key factor in its success.  She says:  “With the right person at the helm, offering strong leadership, I’m confident that the inspectorate will ensure all boards meet the highest possible standards.

The move follows claims by Theresa Fyffe, director of the Royal College of Nursing in Scotland, last week that the Government needed a more coordinated approach to battling superbugs, including more staff, an overall supervisor and clearer guidelines on initiatives.

She said that many frontline hospital staff were confused by the Government’s sporadic tactics and that the issue was becoming politicized, thereby creating confusion and anxiety on the wards.

Nine Out of Ten Hospitals Fail Hygiene Test

By Roisin Brady

Only one in ten hospitals are adhering to sanitation standards put in place by the government to prevent the spread of super bugs, according to an inspectors’ report published today.

The Healthcare Commission tested fifty-one unnamed hospitals using the government’s hygiene code, which is a legal requirement for medical trusts and helps to reduce the spread of infections such as MRSA, Clostridium difficile and other hospital-acquired infections.

Anna Walker, the Commission’s Chief Executive said, “At nearly all trusts we have found gaps that need closing. It is important to be clear that at these trusts we are not talking about the most serious kind of breaches. But these are important warning signs to trust boards that there may be a weakness in their systems.”

“It is clear that the NHS is paying close attention to infection prevention and control. Trusts have made real progress with many getting good systems in place and demonstrating clear board leadership on this important issue.”

She added that despite improvements in certain areas, it was vital for hospitals to constantly strive for the utmost in sanitary conditions, to ensure patient safety.

“Now the challenge for trusts is to ensure they drive further sustained improvements by getting the right systems in place all of the time.

“At nearly all trusts we have found gaps that need closing. It is important to be clear that at these trusts we are not talking about the most serious kind of breaches. But these are important warning signs to trust boards that there may be a weakness in their systems.

“In particular, trusts need to ensure that their wards are consistently clean and well maintained, and that they have good decontamination and isolation arrangements.

“It is the consistent application of these systems that will ensure infection rates continue to drop. These issues are a top priority for the public. We make no apologies for demanding high standards.”

From April next year, the new Care Quality Commission will be able to impose fines on medical institutions that fail to meet hygiene standards.

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