28/02/2005

Hospital tackle hygiene issue for 'Think Clean' Day

Nurses, doctors, consultants and cleaners from nearly a thousand hospital sites have been working to raise the profile of good hygiene in hospitals as part of 'Think Clean' Day.

The initiative, a collaboration between local trusts, the Department of Health, UNISON and other partners, such as the Royal College of Nursing, is part of a larger government plan to tackle hospital cleanliness and hygiene.

The purpose of the day is to focus attention on cleaning and help staff to use the experience to help improve their hospital-cleaning plan. Hospitals across England, representing 93% of Acute Hospital Trusts, have been asked to audit a ward or department and find solutions to any cleanliness problems that they find.

Chief Nursing Officer, Christine Beasley, said: "Hospitals need to be kept clean all day, every day and we have already put in place national standards and monitoring procedures which will deliver real improvement. Think Clean Day is all about local NHS staff making a difference in their area. Everyone, no matter how junior or senior can play a part. I hope that all staff will take the opportunity to think about how they work, and whether there are any changes they could make that would improve the cleanliness of our hospitals. That way, Think Clean Day will leave a legacy that lasts well beyond today."

Conservative Shadow Health Andrew Lansley criticised the initiative saying: "Every day should be Think Clean Day. We need consistent, not piecemeal action.

"Since 1997, MRSA rates have more than doubled and a recent report showed patients think hospitals are getting dirtier. Mr Blair has failed to make clean hospitals a priority and has created a target culture in which the superbug thrives. In contrast, Conservatives will deliver what matters to people- clean hospitals. We will give matrons the power to deliver all aspects of hospital cleanliness and free hospitals from Whitehall targets".

'Think Clean Day' has gained greater significance over recent months due to the dramatic rise of cases of MRSA infections in UK hospitals.

Health Secretary John Reid announced plans last November to reduce the number of MRSA infections in NHS hospitals by half by 2008.

In December, Mr Reid published a new model cleaning contract, containing guidance to ensure that hospitals have clear contracts to deliver high standards of cleaning.

(KMcA/SP)

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