Nurses at a cash-strapped hospital trust are being forced to clean beds and scrub wards to make up for a lack of funding for full-time cleaners, it has been claimed
By Hannah Furness 8:39AM BST 31 Jul 2012 From the London Telegraph
There is “not sufficient funding to provide a 24/7 cleaning service,” the report says, declaring it “an area of risk that requires urgent attention.”
Adding that the time allocated for post-discharge clean was less than the 45 minutes recommended, it says: “Cleaning by nurses was less effective than that done by the domestic staff.
“Pressure on beds pushes staff to clean more quickly and anecdotal feedback indicates staff believe bed areas are not being cleaned thoroughly at these times.”
The hospital Trust has admitted suffering “financial challenges for many years”, the scale of which “only became clear in January 2012”.
A “root and branch” report showed their deficit for 2011-2 was £20m, “significantly higher than had been expected”.
Nursing staff at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust have been required to clean and tidy in acute and general admission wards, despite fears it will divert from patient care.
According to papers, the move is a response to a lack of funding for a round-the-clock cleaning service, with one hospital site making do without full-time professional cleaners for two days each week.
A report by Brian Duerden, a former inspector of microbiology and infection control at the Department of Health, found nurses were washing and mopping wards despite not being trained to do so.
He was called in by the hospital after it missed a hospital acquired infection target and its clostridium difficile standard was “only just achieved”.
A document states: “Nursing staffing is already ‘tight’, so taking them away to clean must impact on their time for patient care”.
The Trust, which runs hospitals in Wakefield, Dewsbury and Pontefract, is now seeking to save £24m in the next financial year, with discussion over the future of hospitals.
A spokeswoman for the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust said the issue of nurses cleaning beds was not unique to them, and that the problems was not cost-cutting but a rise in demand for hospital services.
Tracey McErlain-Burns, chief nurse at the trust, told the Guardian newspaper: “In a small number of clinical areas, members of the nursing team may be required to assist with bed space cleaning following the discharge of a patient.
“This may occur in the evening or overnight and is necessary to ensure that the trust can admit patients requiring emergency admission.”
Jamie Reed MP, the shadow health minister, told the newspaper patients had been left “paying the price” for NHS budget cuts.
Today it emerged that hospitals could be able to appoint directors with a history of bankruptcy or criminal convictions under new proposals.
According to the Guardian, a consultation paper by NHS regulator Monitor said it was considering “waiving” the current “fit and proper persons test” for board appointments