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Why am I not surprised? The Victorians introduced weekly refuse collections because the breeding cycle of the common housefly is 8 days. Thus the bottom of the vermin food-chain was kept under control, and the vermin higher up the food chain could be more easily dealt with. Couple the 2-week refuse collection service with the incompetent cleaning services in our hospitals, together with the lack of attention paid to hygiene in too many of our hospitals, and you end up with the present situation.
Start weighing refuse bins and fly -tipping will increase, further exacerbating the situation. How long before disease that has vermin as vectors start to become common?

We Tories need to reconsider on a long term basis the whole issue of public health and the duties of local authorities, with the aim of removing the expensive and time-consuming candyfloss imposed by NuLab and allowing LA's to deal with the basic requirements of a modern society.

I wonder how the figures compare to hospitals in the private sector?

MRSA is almost non-existent in private hospitals. This isn't just because they are generally cleaner, but they rarely have acute patients and most surgery done is relatively for minor reasons. Also. pts are given bay rooms and time spent in hospital is short.

Or Hospices, Justin! I bet both private sector (not "nursing homes!") are 110% cleaner than your average NHS hospital.
When we get back into power, we should seriously consider bringing back in house cleaning, where the profit motive is not an issue. I would further bet, that the money that has had to be spent combating hospital aquired infection, is far, far, more than if the in house cleaning had been maintained, not contracted out. I dont care which colour of government first contracted these services out, we should reverse it as soon as possible.

I thought DC had gone to Cornwall on holiday because he was being green but he is going to Turkey AS WELL! Lucky guy.

Posted by: grumpy old man | August 06, 2008 at 08:54:
The Victorians introduced weekly refuse collections because the breeding cycle of the common housefly is 8 days...

Many other countries in Europe have rubbish collections every two weeks (and they've been doing this for years) and e.g. German and Austria have summers at least as hot as the ones we do. They don't appear to be experiencing problems with vermin in bins ands hospitals. Is there really a link between the two?

Can anyone explain exactly why are people keep making such a big deal of weekly rubbish collections?

Do anyone know how much money we could save by everyone switching to fortnightly rubbish collections?

I can imagine the ad:

"Save £XXX on your council tax every year if we collect your rubbish once a fortnight. Want a weekly collection? OK, you pay the full amount"

Let the public decide what they want.

Yes the shadow cabinet are doing a good job of maintaining the pressure. Apart from Finance where Cable is filling the media and Hammond appears as an afterthought.

Fair point about hospices, Annabel. And can I just point out that most of the population, if I'm right, has MRSA and that it's harmless unless your immune system is seriously depressed. Again, bedbugs are rife thoughout the nation's beds and they are fairly harmless.

Where's Dr. Tannock when you need him (-:

Chris Grayling is doing a superb job, too.

Moving a bit off topic from hospital hygiene, but I think whether or not fortnightly refuse collections are a health issue depends on what is in the bin. Germany and Austria are very keen on recycling, so I suspect that the general refuse contains whatever's left, which would be pretty benign stuff, and unattractive to the vermin.

In Bromley we are looking at maintaining/introducing a weekly collection for "smellies" (kitchen waste and the like), increasing to weekly some of the other recycling types, and reducing to "alternate weekly"(!) the remaining general refuse, which shoudln't include much that would attract the rats/crows/foxes/etc.

This may be true but we have to be very careful how we package this and not be seen to be criticising the nurses and health staff because we will alienate them and this is the theme coming across on local media.

This vermin problem needs to be very much linked to Labour NHS policy and I agree with Annabel Herriott we should reverse the present policy that is the clear blue water between us and Labour on this and would probably get the health professionals on board

Its almost impossible to rid the world of rats. Wherever there are sewage systems they will set up runs. However these smart rodents can be encouraged by careless acts, allowing food to go down the kitchen sink plughole is as good as feeding them, they remember the spot and will be back looking for more. Leaving bin bags outside that contain food is another invitation. Special attention must go into the little careless acts that encourage rat runs.

If I have understood this story correctly, NHS trusts are being "outed" because they have called in pest controllers to deal with problems. Why is this a story?

How would that compare with a situation where hospitals were not calling in pest controllers to deal with vermin, as was the case in the 1970s, when hospitals had Crown Immunity?

We also need to be aware that by criticisin government ministers personally for the problems, we add to the consensus that government ministers should be involved in the day-to-day running of hospitals. We should be pointing out the absurdity of junior health ministers running round panicking and the PM ordering "deep cleans" and telling nurses to wash their hands, when really the problem is that hospitals don't have the freedom to make the decisions that keep their hospitals clean.

I see similar problems every time we moan about "post-code" lotteries. If we want to devolve power in health, education, and other areas, we need to accept that for a while, some districts will be better than others and some will need to learn from their mistakes. People will vote with thier feet by going to school in the next district if the schools are better or by demanding better health provision if their area is letting them down. Uniformity has a tendency to reinforce a belief that's "just how it is" and that things should be accepted, whereas a difference of approaches will lead to best-practices being adopted across the board.

HF at 09.32:

"Yes the shadow cabinet are doing a good job of maintaining the pressure. Apart from Finance where Cable is filling the media and Hammond appears as an afterthought".

Vincent Cable was right on top of his brief again last night on C4 News. He is so very sensible and puts us in the shade.

There are people who believe that much of our success in government will depend upon the performance of our Treasury team. I am not criticising them for the sake of criticising but I am totally exasperated by the opportunities we miss almost on a daily basis.

It is even arguable that Labour's majority might not have been so large last time had we attacked Brown more effectively when he was Chancellor. He should not still be getting away with his fake facts and claims.

I do believe that Osborne is a superb politician and that he will do much to ensure our winning the next GE. But I would like to see John Redwood - or somebody else with similar ability and knowledge - to be on the screens debating the economic situation with Vince Cable.

Yes, Richard, that's why I'm not comfortable with these "findings" - although I accept that they'll make good headlines in the tabloids.

Ken Clarke?

David Belchamber, very good points. Opposition to the Labour government has been lukewarm to say the least. We get the occasional burst of activity and then very long periods of silence. I'd even go so far as to say that this is the laziest opposition I can remember in my lifetime.

I wouldn't go that far, Tony. You have to remember that we lost an awful lot of talent in the 1997 rout and that we had to make use of what we had. People like David Cameron and George Osborne did not enter Parliament until 2001. People like Ed Vaizey and Jeremy Hunt came even later in 2005. The media is only now taking us seriously, but it's isn't the case that, however lame, previous shadow cabinets didn't try.

"Save £XXX on your council tax every year if we collect your rubbish once a fortnight. Want a weekly collection? OK, you pay the full amount"

The problem is that my council tax is going up AND I'm having to put up with bi-weekly collections.

Andrew Lansley and David Cameron are entirely right to return to this issue. We fought the 2005 election on clean hospitals, and the Westminster Village just assumed it was cynical - it certainly was not - it's one of the biggest scandals in this country. Bugs do, of course, throw up new challenges, even in clean environments, but we have to stay ahead of the game, learn from other countries in Europe on this issue, and be more rigorous about people who walk into the buildings.

I suspect that Gordon Brown will be looking over his shoulder for 'rattus rattus' infesting his Labour Party. Which member of his Cabinet will turn out to be the biggest rodent of them all???

Justin Hinchcliffe, I take your point, but surely you must agree that its down to us to push senior politicians to give us more, and to keep pushing them. We need to be vocal to keep them vocal. Whenever unemployment or inflation goes up I want to see all the opposition parties on TV screaming and holding the government to account. Labour have got away with so much and this is part of the reason why they were returned in 2005 as David Belchamber points out. There is no way Labour should have won that election considering Iraq, the NHS and so on, but the opposition parties did not do enough to expose Labour or to offer an alternative. So we end up with a government which 78% of those who could vote didn't want. We need to keep pushing and opposition needs to push even harder. If only shadow ministers had the willpower of Louise Bagshawe, that woman is full of fight.

I have asked a number on times on various threads if CCHQ can provide a clear policy in support or against alternate weekly rubbish collection. I have yet to see one.
The situation is confused with Conservative Councils introducing a variety of schemes with and without weekly food waste collection to meet recycling targets and landfill directives.
Are the Conservatives for weekly collections of food waste or not?

"Are the Conservatives for weekly collections of food waste or not?"

Surely it's up to local councils to decide which is best rather than have a single policy nationwide?

Louise is a credit to the Party and will go far. The problem, Tony, was that nobody liked Micheal Howard, sadly.

Norm Brainer "Surely it's up to local councils to decide which is best rather than have a single policy nationwide?"

- if so than CCHQ need to stop raising the issue nationally and let Councils make their own decisions. CCHQ gives the impression that they oppose the move to alternate weekly collections without actually saying so.

I agree with David and Tony, our Treasury Team's overall performance this year has been poor.

Why? Is George Osborne distracted with other work?

Only topic of note was Justine Greening on VED. This year the rest have been woeful. Come on Editor, time for you or Mr Isaby to get stuck in. How about some special questions in our next monthly survey?

Gove sort of produced some policy, but it was rubbish, even more ineptly spun.

Lansley produced no policy, but the point was quite effective, and very well spun.

I hope as August goes on we can combine the two approaches (no, I don't mean no policy, ineffectively put, with poor spin!).

As for rubbish collections, certainly in urban areas I am dead against anything less than a weekly collection, but I can see the argument that the national party cannot easily just announce a national policy that many of our Councils have presumably decided against. How about a discussion at the Party Conference and then agreeing a policy democratically (either a national presumption for weekly collections, against, or that it should be totally up to local party group decisions)? I know democracy is a frighteningly unfamiliar process within the Party these days, but it could be worth a try.

As infestation spreads, it is not appropriate to allow dirty people to contract out of these collection services. (ie pay X for weekly services, and X/2 for fortnightly ones)

No idea re Germany but Italy - which of course is hotter - has NIGHTLY collections in rome. you put your small bag of rubbish into a massive sort of skip thing that sits on the pavement and an even bigger lorry comes long and takes the skip thing away, EVERY NIGHT.

AND, on the whole they have less rubbish - their food is less heavily packaged than ours.

In south of France they also had daily collections of waste.
However there were also many more local recycling points for glass, paper, plastic etc(which where very well designed and blended into the street scene) instead of kerbside collections.

Our Conservative Council have inflicted 2 large wheelie bins and plastic collection boxes on us. With many terraced houses, this means lots of bins and boxes permanently on display at the front of properties and spilling over onto pavements which really makes the area look very tatty. Plus empty bins and boxes often get blown into the road. What's the answer?

In defence of differences between councils, different systems account for different types of housing, demographics and the types of recycling facilities at the council's disposal. For example, in a rural area, it may be reasonable for people to compost more of their waste and more cost-effective to have alternate week collections, whereas in a densely populated urban area, this would be impractical and a health risk. I'm sure none of us as conservatives think it's the job of the local government minister to tell every council in Britain how they empty the bins!

In any case, we're a bit off the topic of "Labour's filthy hospitals"

On holiday in Lisbon in 2006, I noticed recycling tanks built into the ground and fed through a small chute on the surface. They were neatly landscaped and were unobtrusive. There was no litter on the streets. I'd like to see something similar in this country. Except of course, that our culture of binge drinking and fights on Friday/Saturday night could well result in dead bodies being dumped instead.

"lots of bins and boxes permanently on display at the front of properties and spilling over onto pavements"

This is a bigger problem than most people think. I have a small garden and have three huge bins, two of which never get used but the council won't take them away. These bins literally fill up the garden making it impossible to sit out in the garden without being within close proximity to a bin. Small gardens should be exempted from excess bins, because it means bins end up close to the kitchen. Green ideology is now starting to interfere with the everyday lives of ordinary people, its time to end this madness.

Tony says "Green ideology is now starting to interfere with the everyday lives of ordinary people, its (sic) time to end this madness."

I really doubt wheelybins have got anything to do with "green ideology". The recyling in my Borough goes in orange sacks so the higher proportion of waste that is recycled, the less need for bins. Are you saying that they insist on three bins because each is for a different type of rubbish, recycled differently? If so, you should get your Council to change their system not blame "green ideology". Some people seem to blame all ills on "greenery", a bit like some used to blame religion for everything. I suppose powerful causes tend to set up irrational reactions.

However, I agree that bins littering the streets are a mess and that, in urban areas, street corner mass bins (emptied all or most or all days) and recycling facilities have much to commend them, as I myself have also used in France in a small town, where I don't think they even have door to door collections. I can see that in dense areas there might be arguments over where these would be cited though.

It seems that we are much more interested in bins than in hospital ants, doesn't it?

In the 1960's Hospital.s had serious problems recruiting cleaners and porters. The Salmon report reccomended ;; A career struction and Management structure for all housekeeping services. This included resposibility for among many other things Pest Control. Managers with recognised qualification e.g. Hotel, Catering and Institutional Management were recruited. These managers were highly motivated and establised teams of cleaners both male and female with differing responsibilities.Matrons were abolished and cleaners and porters reported to and were thoroughly trained by thier own managers and supervisers. These managers were trained in every aspect of pest control. Unfortunately Domestic Services were withdrawn in 1984 and their work put out to contractors.Hence filthy hospital and disgusting bacteria. Only way to go is back to Seperate Domestic services run in house with adequate budgets. Highly trained management a career for cleaners and porters to give the right Incentives.

Londoner, don't you think that a lot of these green 'inititatives' are based on political point scoring rather than a genuine desire to improve the environment? There is an old lady who lives near me who says she is afraid of putting her bins out in case she puts the wrong one out on the wrong day and gets a fine! It really is too much to be intimidating people like this. We all want a better environment but common sense must apply, why should my small two-bedroom home with a tiny garden have three huge bins standing like tower blocks and taking up space? I have of course complained and told I have to have the bins. This just adds to the feeling I get, that, for the first time in my life, I feel oppressed, and put-upon by a British government.

I almost always do the monthly surveys here despite not being aligned to any party. I enjoy the chance to respond and I answer honestly. It makes me think about the Tories with more focus, about who I respect and how don't.

So I have to be honest and say this story has left a bad feeling. It is scaremongering, simple as that. The media lapped it up, with the BBC newsreader on the Today programme reading out all the worst elements of the report in the headline, even though they were - as Lansley said - in a tiny minority. This was all about 'good' headlines at the expense of genuine opposition and it seems some of you are happy to put up with scaremongering to make a perceived gain over the government. The stats may not be reliable (it would be nice if the Tories presented their research on their website in detail - if someone has the detail, please present it to me) but the media jumped right on it, as you can expect, and the Tories have taken advantage. Very disheartening.

It's not a big story but it really does underline a problem I have with the Tories that persists - they are terribly shallow. This is not New Tory like New Labour. The changes do not run that deep. And that leaves you vulnerable. If this government recovers it won't take much for you to be in hung parliament territory. Bear that in mind before trashing the NHS for a days headlines in future.

This is a nonsense story. The hospitals to focus on are those not calling in people to deal with infestation as all large buildings like hospitals will generally nowadays have a problem with rats which is a growing problem not just in hospitals.
I am afraid you are simply attacking the wrong target here.

My understanding of the waste collection, is that a council will be heavily finded by the EU or ZanuLab if it exceeds a certain amount of "landfill" This ties a councils hands. Perhaps we need more "green" incinerators to deal with all the packaging that various manufacturers throw at us,

Mary O'Boyle talks a lot of sense.

Quite right, Annabel - and perhaps we should also do more to lobby manufacturers over the ridiculous amount of packaging they use!

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