Hospital Cleaning/infection/MRSA

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2006 Health Care Service Group Conference
1 December 2005

Since the contracting out of Cleaning/Domestic Services/Housekeeping/Facilities to PFI this conference notes the extent of media coverage into Hospital Acquired Infections/MRSA. Television documentaries and newspapers have reported widely on the problems associated with MRSA and bed shortages, excessive movement of patients, rapid throughput and high levels of bed occupancy to meet performance targets, lack of suitable isolation facilities, lack of sufficient beds to separate elective and emergency admissions, increasing antibiotic usage/resistance and dwelling obsessively on staff not washing their hands and the use of various alcohol gels to redue cross infection when the problem is much wider.

This conference instructs the Service Group Executive to enter into negotiations with the Department of Health to:

1.Ensure a high level of cleanliness in all clinical areas that reflects uniformity and consistency across the NHS and not the present wide inconsistencies in Hospital hygiene practices;

2.To ensure quality and consistency is not based on cost alone but focuses on high quality cleaning;

3.To ensure ultimate responsibility for cleaning and hospital acquired infections lies jointly with a Senior Nurse and most Senior person in charge of cleaning services who have designated responsibility for Clinical and Non Clinical areas and are performance managed, in every hospital, for ensuring that not only clinical areas are cleaned to a high standard but, that high standard cleaning extends to all manner of hospital furniture that comes into contact with patients e.g. Hospital beds, bed frames, mattresses, dressing trolleys and their wheels, equipment, hoists, wheelchairs etc…, with clearly written policies to state how this should be done, by whom and how often.

4. To ensure that all NHS workers who wear a uniform have access to a proper laundry service in order for their uniforms to be washed at temperatures domestic washing machines do not reach so that any infection carried on their uniforms, from bodily fluid splashes, is destroyed and thereby reducing spread of infection from uniforms. Present laundry services for staff are inadequate and sporadic. The service is either non existent or takes weeks to return uniforms if it does not lose them in the meantime.

5. To emphasise duty of care to Hospital Management especially Hospitals that are Foundation Trust as they are “signed up” to Corporate Social Responsibility. A socially and responsible activity being to place a very high priority on cleaning to eradicate hospital acquired infections.

6. To ultimately make the case for bringing cleaning back in house based on researched findings from a large body of literature published on the subject.