Ever been ‘on hold’ at a hospital switchboard? They seem to be paranoid about telling the ‘holder’ about how important hand washing is – to avoid all those nasty hospital infections! Yes, well I couldn’t believe my eyes the other day when I was supporting a woman at a well know, and well regarded public maternity hospital in Sydney. The small pan, which had been placed in the toilet, was full of faeces (poo!), quite normal during a birth. An ‘experienced’ (that’s how she described herself) midwife, came into the room and after much encouragement, eventually changed to a clean pan. However, the pan, full of (poo) was placed, by the midwife, on the tray table – you know, where the food tray is placed, where the water glass and other food items are placed, where a woman may eat from! She then proceeded to put gloves on and get a paper towel to cover the offending item. We used to have pan covers. This is very basic nursing knowledge – poo and food don’t mix. If I had done this when I was a general nurse, let alone a midwife, I would have been dismissed on the spot – and rightly so. I was appalled and made sure the tray table was not used by the woman for anything. No wonder there is a variety of vicious bugs in our hospitals today – there was no hand washing and no level of basic hygiene. Thankfully this Mum was not in hospital for long enough to get a hospital sickness! Let me know your thoughts.