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Holiday Compensation and 'The Independent Hygiene Specialist'

Holiday Compensation Solicitors Simpson Millar ask who is the 'Independent Hygiene Specialist'?

In a fight back against the increasing tide of holiday compensation claims being made by holidaymakers struck down with violent diarrhoea, debilitating stomach cramps and projectile vomiting at hotels abroad tour operators have created the mystical 'Independent Hygiene Specialist'.

So who is the mysterious 'Independent Hygiene Specialist'? Is he the tour operator’s Mr Fixit?

Well at the drop of a hat, landing in lightening speed he’s jetted into resorts by tour operators like Quentin Tarrantino’s Pulp Fiction character Mr Wolf whenever a hotel is struck by illness.

So who pays the 'Independent Hygiene Specialist's fees? Are his services free? Who is his paymaster? - We don’t know for sure but we have a reasonable idea!

Has the 'Independent Hygiene Specialist' ever found any failings at a hotel? – We are still looking but haven’t found any evidence so far.

Holiday Illness Claims - Independent Hygiene Specialist image

Does the 'Independent Hygiene Specialist' conclude every hotel illness outbreak is a norovirus? – No because when there is evidence of food borne illness such as salmonella or other confirmed bacterial pathogens at a hotel his report is then 'inconclusive'.

In all businesses we look after the people who pay our wages – we serve our best interests by serving others best interests.

So then would it be in the Independent Hygiene Specialist’s best interests to find that a hotel was dirty and that its guests were suffering from food poisoning if it ran contrary to his paymaster’s best interests?

Would his paymaster, let say the tour operator, be pleased with this 'independent' view if it meant that the tour operator would have to pay many thousands of pounds in compensation to it customers?

We would like to know more about the mysterious world of the 'Independent Hygiene Specialist' and have made it our intention to do so. Let us know your views by dropping us a line at holidayclaims@simpsonmillar.co.uk.

In an article published by the Guardian newspaper on the 18th September 2009 titled: "Holidaymakers Sue First Choice over stomach bugs at Turkish Resort" concerning a reported outbreak of illness including salmonella and E-coli at the Holiday Village resort in Sarigerme, First Choice holidays are quoted as saying:

"Our independent health and hygiene consultants tell us that the level and sporadic pattern of the recent sickness does not point to any particular source and is not classified as an outbreak" – Our Comment - So 700+ people being diagnosed with Salmonella and E-coli at one hotel is not an outbreak? Perhaps it was just a coincidence?

In an article in the Daily Star newspaper published on the 31st August 2009 titled: "£750k for Dodgy Hol Burger", following a food poisoning incident at the Concorde El Salam Hotel in Egypt, a First Choice spokeswoman is quoted as saying:

"The Concord El Salam had passed an independent hygiene check" – Our Comment - has a hotel ever failed an 'independent' hygiene specialist’s check?

Then in a posting dated the 2nd October 2009 on the popular consumer forum TripAdvisor titled "Very Disappointing" the writer posts a review of their experience at the Reef Oasis Blue Bay Resort in Sharm Elk Sheikh, Egypt.

After complaining about illness at the hotel the hotel’s management posted the following response:

"……I think I need to clarify the bad stomach sentence. If anyone spends a certain amount of time by the sun, the change of environment, food and alcohol, it could create some discomfort, we do get some cases as such, and it does depend on the individual, it is normal in warm climates, it’s not the hotel it’s the individual, and the changes we experience. It has nothing to do with HYGIENE or CLEANLINESS, certainly NOT in our resort……..As for cleaning the pool, let me assure you our pools are cleaned every night without fail, it is our standard operating policy, physically by the pool attendants and automatically. We have the latest equipment in our pump rooms with high quality chemicals. Nobody throws chemicals with a bucket, and allow me to confirm that our Hygiene practices are some of the best, if not the best in Sharm, checked by Crystal 'check safety first' 'Sanitation and hygiene inspectors' a company appointed by Tui Thomson’s….."

Our Comment – So here we are again with Thomson Holidays privately contracting First Choice’s 'independent hygiene specialist'.

Get the excuses – it wasn’t food poisoning - it was the sun, the environment, too much food and alcohol (over indulgence).

And in a posting dated the 16th April 2010 again on TripAdvisor relating to a large outbreak of sickness at the Movenpick Taba resort the hotel management posted a response claiming, quote:

"After the increased number of the sick customer the management in the resort brought in 2 independent Environmental Health Inspectors one from UK and the second from Egypt to audit the premises for any form of contamination that may have caused this sudden illness. Following thorough checks of the domestic water supplies, swimming pools, kitchens and restaurants, followed by stool tests taken from some of the guests by the doctors to investigate the problem; it has proved that the illness was not caused by any thing within the resort itself. Further investigation has brought us to conclude that the illness was a viral type neurovirus infection probably brought into Resort from outside which was highly contagious and spread rapidly from one person to another."

Again – it wasn’t the food – get the excuses – a "neurovirus infection" brought in from outside the resort. He nearly got the spelling right – we once had a holiday representative who had misheard his team leader’s briefing running around a resort telling people they had caught a "Northern Virus – brought in by northerners"!

Our Comment – no prizes for guessing who the 'Independent' Hygiene Specialist was drafted in from the UK!... See any similarities… A Norovirus!

For those holidaymakers whose hard earned money has been thrown down the drain and their special family time ravaged and wrecked by illness the 'Independent Hygiene Specialist' is unlikely to report that your claims that the food was cold, covered in flies, or undercooked are true.

Contrarily these observations of yours (which you had the misfortune to live through) the tour operator will say are figments of your imagination because the Independent Hygiene Specialist says so!

The tour operator has a whole host of excuses well practised to reel off when you complain:

Perhaps you were the victim of a 'change in the climate' or 'a change in the oils used to cook foods'. Perhaps you over indulged or brought the illness with you!

Furthermore, expect the tour operator to say to you that your experience was an isolated case and that they have had no other reports of illness.

We can help you fight back against the Tour Operators!

Simpson Millar Solicitors’ Holiday Compensation Claims Team specialise in pursuing claims for holiday compensation on a 'no win no fee' basis.

If you have been ill on holiday and want to know more about making a holiday compensation claim call Simpson Millar today on:

Freephone: 0808 145 1353 or drop us a line using the form above.

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Dated: 04/06/2010

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