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Wednesday 26th October 2016

Cleaning staff guarantee call

15th April 2008

Unison, a union representing cleaning and hospital staff, has said that "minimum cleaning staff quotas" are necessary to ensure hospitals win the war against superbugs such as MRSA.


The union called for two members of cleaning staff to be available for every 30 hospital patients.

At Unison's yearly conference, the union told members that hospitals should undergo cleaning from 8am to 9pm every day.

It criticised the fact that there were no regulations to dictate the minimum number of staff available at any time or to specify at what times hospitals should be cleaned.

The union also stated that committees - formed of cleaning staff, management and nurses - should be put in place at all hospitals in the country.

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."

She said that cleaners were not happy because although they knew the best ways to clean wards and what they needed to accomplish this effectively, they did not have a forum in which to voice their opinions or share knowledge.

She added that a minimum staff quota should be "based on quality, not cost," and said cleaners needed to be given regular training.

Although Ms Jennings acknowledged that the government's deep cleaning programme had value, she said regularly cleaning hospitals would "significantly cut" the occurrence of superbugs.

A Department of Health spokesman said that the issue was "more complex" than establishing a cleaner-to-patient ratio because of "equipment, layout, age and condition of estate, amount of equipment and footfall."

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