Cleaning plays an important part in helping to reduce the risk of infection in hospital and providing a clean and safe environment for our patients and visitors is a top priority for Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust. We want to ensure all areas within the hospitals are safe, welcoming and comfortable so our patients feel reassured when visiting the hospital.
Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust has conducted a thorough review of Cleaning, Housekeeping, Catering and Portering services, new specifications have been drawn up and following a rigorous evaluation process involving a multi disciplinary team which included Matrons, Control of Infection nurses, and patient representatives, Serco are now working in partnership with the trust to deliver these important services.
The National Specifications for Cleanliness for the NHS (April 2007) provides a framework within which hospitals and trusts can set out details for providing cleaning services and assessing cleanliness standards. The national specifications incorporate guidance on cleaning frequencies and Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust has used these standards as a basis for our new cleaning service specification. Our cleaning frequencies now match and in some cases surpass those recommended in the national guidance. We will be routinely checking and auditing our cleaning standards and require a level of compliance in excess to those laid down in the national guidance.
Serco have produced cleaning schedules for display on all wards and departments. These documents are intended for patient and visitor information so that you know what to expect from the cleaning service when in hospital. The schedules will be displayed in an easily accessible area on each ward and department. An example of a high-risk ward cleaning schedule showing the cleaning frequencies is included below.
The new cleaning service has provided us with the opportunity to implement new cleaning equipment incorporating the latest technology. A microfibre cleaning system, fully approved by Infection Prevention & Control is in place throughout the site supported by new electrical floor cleaning equipment.
Our Hotel Services now includes an enhanced Ward Housekeeper role. All wards will have a Ward Housekeeper between the hours of 0730 and 2000 hours. The Ward Housekeeper is responsible for co-ordinating the non-clinical support services and will be focussed on providing an environment which promotes the patients well-being. The Housekeeper will liase with and work under the direction of the Ward Manager to ensure that all the cleaning, catering and portering services within their area are provided safely, to a high standard and with courtesy and respect. They will be the first point of contact for all cleaning issues at ward level and will be responsible for directing the cleaning staff on the ward, coordinating cleaning work to fit around the work of the ward team, ensuring tasks are carried out in accordance with the needs of the individual wards.
Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust has listened to the feedback received from our patients. You told us that you were not happy that the same staff were carrying out cleaning tasks in sanitary areas and taking part in food service duties. For this reason, we now provide dedicated cleaning assistants who will not take part in any food or beverage service duties. Dedicated Ward Hostesses will carry out the food preparation and service.
You will recognise the various staff and the roles they carry out by the colour of their uniforms:-Ward Housekeeper – navy tunic with green detail
Ward Hostess - blue shirt with navy/green tabard or green apron
Ward/department cleaning assistant – navy tunic with red detail
Rapid Response/Public area cleaning assistants – red
The Ward Housekeeper will be conducting regular audits of the cleanliness standards with the Ward Manager or their deputy. These audits will be scheduled at different times of the day, often not directly after an area has received a clean. This will ensure objective audits showing the actual standards of cleanliness that the patients experience. Any issues arising out of the audits will be the responsibility of the Housekeeper to address by immediately carrying out the task, by directing the dedicated cleaning assistant to address the task or by contacting the Hotel Services Helpdesk for additional help.
The Matrons and Heads of Departments are responsible for carrying out regular hygiene checks in all their areas. These checks include environmental cleaning standards as well as cleanliness of patient’s equipment and infection prevention and control practices and procedures.
Whilst we are working very hard to ensure our cleaning standards are maintained at all times, we do need the help of our patients and visitors in order to ensure any problems are quickly highlighted and rectified. For this reason, you may see notices displayed around the hospital encouraging staff, patients and visitors to report any problems they may find. With your help, we will be able to rectify problems quickly to ensure others do not experience the same problem. The trust firmly believes that keeping our hospital clean is everyone’s responsibility.
The Trust and Serco welcome your views and any comments you would like to make concerning the cleaning standards in your ward or care you visited. If you would like to speak to a member of the Patient Services Management team, please ask a nurse to arrange this for you.
- Example cleaning schedule - Bracken Ward