Sister’s Word Should Be Law, Says Health Minister
Hospital wards should go back to the days when a sister’s word was “rule of law”, Health Minister Edwina Hart said yesterday.
The newly-appointed minister signalled her approval of a cleaning regime to restore patients’ confidence. With fear of hospital infections widespread, she told AMs that nurses had a role to play in keeping wards clean.
Ms Hart brought her no-nonsense approach to the potentially troublesome health brief in Rhodri Morgan’s post-election reshuffle.
Taking questions in the Senedd, she said, “There is of course a role for nurses, I think, in the supervision of what goes on in terms of cleaning and these issues are top of my agenda.
“I think we have to return to the days when the ward sister’s word was a rule of law in terms of some of these issues.”
To murmurs of approval from AMs, she added, “I well remember myself going into hospital years ago when the sister closed the ward.”
She added, “Certainly people didn’t sit on beds and when there was something wrong they called the cleaners and I think there is no harm in going back to some of those issues.”
Ms Hart said she was in favour of a “team approach” in the health service to tackle cleanliness. Future initiatives would be discussed with the Royal College of Nursing.
Labour wants to end private cleaning contracts in Wales’ NHS. Only one Welsh hospital trust – North West Wales – still uses outside contractors for so-called domestic services.
Swansea East AM Val Lloyd said there had been an improvement at the city’s Morriston Hospital after cleaning was brought in-house recently.