Two Thirds of Hospitals Unclean

The Healthcare Commision published the findings of the first independent inspections of hospital cleanliness in England on 15th December 2006. According to these findings two thirds of hospitals fail to meet government cleanliness standards.

Commission inspectors visited 99 NHS and private hospitals between July and September, arriving unannounced to prevent a late clean up operation. They found a third of the hospitals visited achieving the highest standards in cleanliness across the board. Alarmingly however, two-thirds were not with mental health hospitals performing particularly poorly out of those in the sample.

Out of those hospitals sampled who did not achieve a high standard of cleanliness, a worrying proportion were deemed ‘unsatisfactory for an environment in which clinical care is being provided’ whereas a frightening number of hospitals were said to have ‘serious and widespread problems with standard cleanliness procedures’.

Simon Gillespie, Head of Operations at the Healthcare Commission stated that 'It is a myth to say all our hospitals are dirty. Nevertheless, the findings show that too many hospitals are failing to perform as well as they could. And some have particularly poor standards of cleanliness.' He added that 'Concern about cleanliness has been driven by the prevalence of hospital associated infections and the assumption that poor hygiene is contributing to this.'

The results of this investigation were published only days before the BBC reported that the virulent bug Clostridium difficile is now responsible for about 1,000 deaths of hospital patients each year and that cases of the infection in hospitals in England have seen a disturbing 98% increase from 2001.

Prevention and control of infection are essential cornerstones of good practice not just in hospitals, but in all healthcare settings and, as this investigation and the BBC report proves, healthcare workers must be aware of infection control issues and must take responsibility for the maintenance of standards of cleanliness if the hygiene levels in hospitals are to improve. Edge Services ‘Introduction to Infection Control Certificate’ can train staff to assess and improve their own practice in addition to aiding them with the implementation of infection control procedures.

For further details on the Healthcare Commissions investigation/BBC report into Clostridium difficile please visit , to view details of Edge Services ‘Introduction to Infection Control Certificate’ please visit our course page.

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