For many Australians there is a long held tradition of going to the pub at the end of the day/week to discuss life’s big questions (a practice not native to Australia I’m sure). Sadly, the pubs I frequented in my youth are now apartments (because we need more of those!) and like the live music they used to support, they are gradually disappearing from our urban landscape.
Anyhow, arising from the communal attempt to discuss worldly issues, comes the term “the pub test”. Briefly, the pub test seeks to evaluate the views of “ordinary Australians” on certain issues. In my home state of Victoria, the recent application of the pub test has resulted in the downfall of several senior politicians who were accused of rorting their privileges by making extravagant travel claims. Though arguably they may not have breached any rules (stretching them perhaps). The media applied the pub test and the punters down at the pub believed the politician’s behaviour was unacceptable. In an impressive display of the power of the popular vote, these politicians have been stood down.
Now I’m not convinced of the rigour of the pub test, not the least I suspect the results may be influenced by the pubs location and the time of night you visited, but nevertheless it got me thinking, what if we applied the pub test to the state of infection prevention in Australia?
I wonder if these statements, reflecting some of our local infection prevention issues, would pass the pub test?
- Some people get an infection as a result of their healthcare, but we’re not really sure how many Australians this happens to.
- If you are infected with a ‘superbug’ in some hospitals, sometimes the staff that look after you will be wearing gowns, gloves and masks, and sometimes they wont.
- If you are placed in a room that was previously occupied by a patient with a ‘superbug’ you are probably at a higher risk of being infected with that ‘superbug’ than if you are placed in another room.
- Not all hospitals use the same criteria to identify an infection.
- If you ask a hospital CEO which of the surgeons in their hospital has the highest infection rate, they probably wont tell you.
(I can think of many other examples to put to the pub test, and I invite you to share yours).
What would be the reaction of the ‘ordinary Australian’ to these statements? Would the power of the popular vote on these issues catch the eye of those in authority?
Declarations: I occasionally go to a pub – Phil