I cannot lay claim to the title of this blog - I first heard it on one of those Radio 4 comedy shows some months ago - so please take this as acknowledgement to the BBC and an admission of advanced middle age.

You may have missed international wash your hands day last week. It was the same day that the results of the survey on who has the most faeces on their hands were released.

Now don't panic, it has nothing to do with political, civil service or managerial accountability (none), PFI projects (new accounting rules - oops!) or investment bankers (obviously a misspelling).

Swabs were taken from the hands of a number of people around the country and the further north you go, the more unclean hands were identified; unclean in the sense that they grew bacteria that should only be found in the rectum and the toilet.

Which neatly begs the question - what is it about habits outside work that might tell us about habits at work? We now know from innumerable surveys that the general population in the West has very poor hand hygiene. There will be many reasons for this and no doubt someone somewhere is doing a PhD on this. One reason must be the complacency that comes with living in a relatively clean environment compared with the rest of the world. That complacency is then presumably taken into the work environment.

As a child in Africa, hand washing was enforced from an early age to the point of obsessive habit - before meals, after meals, post toilet use (number one or two), and even just coming into the house. I think that habit has stayed with me since landing here as a refugee and my children now suffer the consequences. I of course blame the parents.

If a significant percentage of the population really do carry rectal contents on their hands, what chance has the sick, debilitated patient? Not so much euthanasia, more WMD.

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