Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Unsion Health Conference News

Call for cleaning staff guarantee

Minimum cleaning staff quotas should be imposed on hospitals to
help in the fight against infections, unions say.

Unison, which represents a range of staff including cleaners,
nurses and porters, said hospitals should have two cleaners
for every 30 patients.

Hospitals should be cleaned from 8am to 9pm every day to
tackle bugs such as MRSA,
Unison's annual Health conference in Manchester was also told.

But the government said cleaning was too complex to have specific quotas.
The union complained there were no minimum staffing levels for cleaners
or times for hospitals to be cleaned.

Officials also pressed for committees to be established in every single hospital
in the UK, made up of cleaners, domestic supervisors, nurses and managers.

Karen Jennings, Unison's head of health, said: "We need to use the whole
hospital team if we are going to fight off these superbugs.

"Cleaning staff are frustrated because they know which cleaning products
are effective, what equipment they need, how many staff it takes to really
clean a ward well, but they are rarely consulted or listened to.

"It should be a requirement that all NHS organisations have safe minimum
staffing levels for their cleaning services that are based on quality, not cost,
and with staff receiving proper, up to date training and equipment."

Ms Jennings said the recent deep clean exercise in hospitals was worthwhile
but was only a starting point because regular, targeted cleaning would
"significantly cut" the instances of MRSA.

Some delegates described situations where staffing was so short that if a
cleaner had a day off there was no-one to cover for them