Most sectors of the cleaning industry have been rather scathing about the government’s ‘quick fix’ of throwing £50,000,000+ at the current hygiene problems within the NHS.
Equally vocal have been the usual trades union demands that the funds be spent on introducing more in-house cleaning staff and ‘good old fashioned Matrons’ instead of the work going to the dreaded private sector.
Against this backdrop, every cleaning trade magazine is bursting with articles about the latest gizmos, chemicals or Heath Robinson contraptions, which will save patient’s lives by eradicating every bug and virus known to man.
Where is the voice of reason and common sense amongst all this discordant background noise? New Labour has pumped more money into the NHS over the last 10 years than it’s founder Bevin could possibly ever imagine. Why does it appear to have gone so horribly wrong?
Newlife’s experiences’ travelling around the country carrying out hospital deep cleans for primary care trusts have been shocking and horrifying. Basic standards of day-to-day cleanliness vary dramatically from site to site. Each authority has a different interpretation of the work specification they want achieved to obtain the results they desire under the same Deep Clean programme. In some cases the ultimate cleaning objective appears to have morphed from decontamination to having “clean shiny floors” or simple wall washing with no attention being paid to soft furnishings, fixtures and fittings.
Is this simply Trusts trying to get extra cleaning works completed under the guise of decontaminating their premises or is it a simple fundamental lack of cleaning knowledge?
Surely common Best Practice methods could be adopted by following the methodology of our European neighbours who already have proven lower levels of infection.
Simple screening of incoming patients, staff and other workers would identify carriers and allow isolation and specialist cleaning to be directed more cost effectively straight to where it is most needed.
Further education of patients would allow them to gently dissuade their own casual visitors and empower them to remonstrate with hospital staff and visitors that are not adhering to basic personal hygiene standards.
We believe that seemingly simple steps such as these would reduce bacterial infections to an acceptable level leaving “one-off” deep cleaning budgets free to be focussed on emergency requirements as they arise.