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'Deep clean' hospital bug battle

24th September 2007

Prime Minister Gordon Brown is to order NHS hospitals to conduct a “deep clean� to tackle the spread of infections such as MRSA.

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Mr Brown wants the cleaning process to be pre-emptive, rather than reactive, to outbreaks, though critics have questioned the effectiveness of such a move pointing out that it is staff, patients and visitors who carry infections such as MRSA into hospitals.

The Prime Minister has also indicated that he wants to make the future of the NHS a key issue at the next general election, fuelling speculation that he will go to the country for an autumn poll.

Mr Brown has vowed to restore the cleanliness of hospitals over the next year to get rid of infections such as MRSA and Clostridium difficile. The plan will involve wards closed for a week at a time to be cleaned.

He said: “A ward at a time, walls, ceilings, fittings and ventilation shafts will be disinfected and scrubbed clean.�

However critics have labelled the clean-up plan as “irritatingly populist.�

Former NHS trust chairman Roy Lilley said it may earn Mr Brown a round of applause at the Labour Party conference but added: “At the end of the day, the infection control systems are about hand washing; it’s about clinical discipline and it’s about screening people before they come in.�

In an interview with the Sunday Times, Mr Brown also promised a reduction in waiting times for cervical screening from six weeks to two and to extend the age range for routine screening from 47 to 73.

 

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