31 January 2003
Hospitals cleaned by private contractors twice as dirty, UNISON.
Scotland's biggest health union representing thousands of NHS cleaning,
supervisory and management staff welcomes the publication today
of Audit Scotland's report into Hospital Cleaning.
The report confirms UNISON's long held concerns about hospital
cleanliness and its impact on rates of Hospital Acquired Infections.
Simon Macfarlane, UNISON Lead Officer for Ancillary Members today
said: "The report shows that 38% of hospitals and wards cleaned
by private contractors were in the category of greatest concern
as opposed to only 14% of those hospitals and wards cleaned by directly
employed NHS staff. It is no surprise to us that a so-called flagship
new PFI hospital like Hairmyres is among the dirtiest. Like the
cuts in bed numbers, cleaning standards are reduced to ensure profits
for the private contractors. UNISON Scotland therefor demands that
Trusts be immediately given powers to monitor cleaning performance
in PFI hospitals and the right to intervene if required.
"The report also confirms that ward staff often have no control
over monitoring cleaning, or even the knowledge of what level of
cleaning should be carried out in the ward. Again the report also
shows that the quality of cleaning is affected by staff shortages
and high staff turnover.
"Hospital cleanliness must become as much of an issue for the Scottish
NHS as waiting times. Cleaner hospitals are essential in the battle
against the shocking levels of Hospital Acquired Infections within
the Scottish NHS.
"The report clearly demonstrates the need for the Scottish Health
Service to adopt our three point action plan to tackle Hospital
Acquired Infection, which states firstly, the Scottish Executive
should establish agreed minimum staffing levels for domestics for
every ward and department in the NHS. Secondly, Ward Sisters and
Charge Nurses should have day to day control over the cleaning in
their ward. And lastly all private contractors should be removed
from the Scottish Health Service.
"Only by adopting this action plan will the NHS be able to ensure
that the next Audit Scotland report demonstrates significant improvement
in the cleanliness of the NHS hospitals and facilities we all use."
For Further Information Please Contact: Simon Macfarlane
on: 0870-7777-006 (w)