Raising Standards of Cleanliness in NHS

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2016 Health Care Service Group Conference
18 December 2015
Carried as Amended

This conference recognises the critical importance of maintaining and improving standards of cleanliness throughout the NHS with particular emphasis in clinical areas. A quality environment for health care should not be a luxury but an essential element of every patients treatment.

UNISON members working in Hospital Cleaning Services have continually shown 100% commitment and professionalism to their duties. This is despite cuts and increased privatisation and disintegration of services in many parts of the UK.

This conference also acknowledges that it was the Labour led Welsh Assembly Government that led the way with its National Minimum Standards of Cleanliness (revised Oct 2009) document which set standards to be achieved in the Welsh NHS.

These standards called for the expansion of the Ward Sister/Charge Nurse role and to empower them to improve ward cleanliness, raise standards of care and protect patients meal times.

UNISON has always maintained that a consistent, quality hospital cleaning programme can only be achieved when it is delivered by well paid, well trained and motivated “in house cleaning services” who do not exist simply to make a profit for invisible shareholders who have no interest in the service other than what appears on the balance of profit column on a spreadsheet. If a cleaning service is to be privatised then minimum standards of cleanliness must be written into any contract as a prerequisite with financial penalty clauses strictly applied for any breaches.

This conference mandates the Health Committee to work with UNISON’s Head of Health, Regional Heads of Health and all UNISON Healthcare Branches to:

1)Maintain and support any “in house cleaning” contracts that currently exist in the NHS

2)Campaign against privatised cleaning services wherever they exist in the NHS and to fight for any new contracts to be awarded to “in house” bids.

3)Urge all NHS employers to adopt a Minimum Standards of Cleanliness policy which will be subject to regular audits and strict monitoring which will ensure standards are maintained. This will involve putting a training programme in place that will include:

a)Induction training

b)Cleaning Operatives Proficiency Certificate award

c)On the job support

d)Patient relations training

e)Supervisory, managerial and leadership development training (where appropriate)

These actions will ensure that UNISON members working in Hospital Cleaning Services are recognised and valued for the vital role they all play in the day to day running of our NHS.