Comment: Hospitals must get handwashing right

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The suggestion that our hospitals could face a repeat of last winter’s vomiting bug crisis will cause widespread concern.

Going into hospital can be a worrying time for anybody, but often one of the biggest concerns of patients going on to a ward is the risk of picking up an infection there.

Cleansing wards of the bugs that cause norovirus is one of the biggest challenges facing the NHS.

We must not lose sight of the fact that on the whole the staff of NHS Lothian are doing a good job of rising to that challenge. Overall, the health board is ahead of Scottish Government targets when it comes to enforcing handwashing standards.

It is vital, though, that it finds ways to ensure that the high standards being achieved on most wards are upheld across the board.

Tackling hospital bugs, however, is not just down to doctors, nurses and hospital managers. How many times do you see hospital visitors walking past the hand cleansing gel on the wall and ignoring the signs asking them to use it? What would the results be if an audit was held into the behaviour of visitors as well as that of hospital staff?

The NHS needs to keep raising its game, but so do the rest of us.

From the art

A picture is worth a thousand words as the saying goes – even more if it happens to be accompanied by a sound clip.

The Southsiders: Portrait of a Community exhibition which we report on today is a really fantastic project which has succeeded in capturing a moment in time in a constantly changing and evolving Edinburgh community.

It is a piece of work which will live on as the Southside community continues to change.

Photographer Pete Dibdin’s finished work then is a time capsule piece of social history for future generations. For now, it is a fantastic art project we can all enjoy. Well done to everyone involved.