War of the Wards
There will be the inevitable cries for government to �do something�, which it probably will (and returning to the election, you might also remember that one of the Tories� five election pledges was �Cleaner hospitals�).
But if anyone has learnt anything from that question time dilemma, then perhaps people will listen to Nigel Edwards, the policy director of the NHS confederation, and his point that "very high pressure" by a "very large push" to take care of other priorities. "If you're short of facilities and you're really anxious to get your elective surgery patients in and your cancer patients in, some trade-offs may be being made there,"
In other words, an excessive focus on any one �lever� of change is likely to have a ripple effect, with consequences elsewhere in an organisation that will be hard to predict and possibly pretty undesirable. And, whilst the temptation is always to tighten control, failure generally leads to a call for more policing and only rarely for a thorough analysis of why policing is failing.
So, whilst the media and the opposition parties will almost inevitably make the most of this, and government will almost inevitably try to head them off by being seen to do something, perhaps all sides should take a step back for a moment or two. Because if we really are to get away from �punch and judy politics� then we�re going to need a higher quality of debate than that.
All of which isn�t to say that nobody should complain about bugs in hospitals. And it's also doesn't mean that sorting out the NHS is an issue for doctors not politicians, because politics is where debates happen about how to solve collective problems.
But it is to say that (a) problems need to be seen in proportion, not blow up by the media because they capture the public�s imagination (�superbugs� etc etc), and (b) when we do complain it needs to go beyond simply �demanding� cleaner hospitals, and to start addressing some of the real causes of problems like this.