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So much has been recently said about hospital infections and lack of hygiene at hospital wards. In 13 years of taking patients from UK to Poland we have never had a single case of infection. I set up Euromedica Cosmetic Surgery 13 years ago to give my clients access to high quality cosmetic surgery and aftercare at affordable prices. We have two separate buildings - one of them is the clinic where the operations take place and next to it, a recuperation centre where the patients stay after their surgery. In the centre we have a special room for the nurse who comes every day and monitors every patient, cleaning and sterilising post-operative wounds, thus minimising the potential for any post-operative infection. Every room is disinfected daily and you would not find a speck of dust anywhere. Even light switches are sterilised on a daily basis. Before the patients arrive I send them a letter telling them to bring a new pair of slippers and nobody is allowed to walk in the centre in their shoes. Similarly, in the clinic, people are not allowed to wear shoes, but wear protective, disposable covers made of plastic foil that they put over their shoes.

My patients compare me to Florence Nightingale but I am proud that we have never had an infection because it proves it is possible to prevent infections occurring and maintain a high level of hygiene. People are reminded to wash their hands frequently, sometimes it makes me unpopular but I usually remind them that it is for their own good. On average, I take groups of 5 to 10 patients a month and after a group leaves, bacteriostatic lamps are installed to kill off any bacteria that might lurk in wardrobes or other nooks and crannies. We also carry out a detailed pre-operative blood screening tests to look for, amongst others, any signs of infection in the patients' bodies such as Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate. The result would tell us if a patient is suitable for surgery. Strangely enough, there was a patient, who was an auxiliary nurse from England, whose ESR was over 40 and it was an indication that she had an infection. She was refused surgery and had to go back home. Another patient's ESR was 90 and we carried out 4 tests for the presence of cancer but it appeared she was suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.

I am extremely sorry for the British patients who go to hospitals for a routine operation and catch an infection, but there is little the NHS can do to address this huge problem. It is too late now. MRSA and clostridium difficile are embedded in the walls and floors of hospitals to say nothing of curtains dividing the patients' beds, and also in the beds themselves. Hospitals would have to be knocked down and rebuilt again to get rid of bacteria. The cost of rebuilding the hospitals and changing their design would be too large and probably impossible to carry out. I can only say that a key differentiating factor when people choose an overseas facilitator, such as Euromedica or go on their own, should be the standards of aftercare and the priority placed on hygiene during the recovery period. It is not good to stay in a hotel after an operation, where the standard of hygiene is inappropriate to the needs of a patient. The cost of providing a 2-week post-operative stay with constant 24 hours medical supervision is too costly for the average cosmetic surgery clinic in the UK, which is why many people choose to go abroad where they can rely on medical staff taking care of them and recuperate in a clean environment.

Alina Deeble
Head of Euromedica Cosmetic Surgery
Tel: 01244-819067

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