More than half of NHS nurses believe that cleaning services for their wards are inadequate, according to a new survey.
Nurses believe cleaning services in the NHS are inadequate
Nursing Times carried out a survey of over 1,000 nurses and health assistants in the NHS. They found that more than half of those questioned thought the cleaning services were substandard.
In addition, some of the nurses said they had cleaned corridors, computers, nursing stations and offices in the last 12 months as well as caring for their patients.
A third had cleaned toilets or mopped floors in the past year, and two-fifths had cleaned a bed after an infectious patient had been discharged.
Around 37% of nurses said their trusts would not close a bed even if it had not been cleaned properly, indicating that patients are sometimes admitted to a dirty bed. Almost three-quarters said they had not received any training for cleaning.
Despite concerns over cleaning provisions, a fifth said hospital managers had actually cut back on cleaning in the previous 12 months.
A Department of Health spokeswoman said: "Hospitals have a duty to provide a clean and safe environment for patients and they should do everything they can to ensure that nurses can spend as much time involved in patient care as possible.
"Cleaning staff should have the necessary skills and resources available to maintain a high quality environment for patients."
Andrew Jones, president of the Association of Healthcare Cleaning Professionals, said it was "inevitable" nurses would end up doing some cleaning during out-of-hour periods.
He told the Nursing Times the best practice for hospital wards was to have a dedicated cleaner but added: "Some of the responses would suggest that's not the case as often as we would want."
Tracey Cooper, president of the Infection Prevention Society, said there was a lack of clarity over the cleaning responsibilities in hospitals.
Whilst a new specification on cleaning in hospitals was published last year, the new guidelines did not clarify appropriate cleaning duties for nurses.
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