Many NHS and private hospitals outsource facilities management to FM companies, and we’re here to help them with periodic deep cleaning.
Hygiene and health are inextricably linked. On the one hand, delivering the best in healthcare requires that hospitals aren’t themselves a source of healthcare-acquired infection. On the other hand, it’s important to make hospitals a pleasant environment for inpatients, outpatients, and staff alike, as mental health and wellbeing reinforce physical health. This means hygiene and cleanliness are important aspects of facilities management in hospitals and other healthcare settings. In the UK, many NHS trusts and private healthcare providers outsource facilities management to specialist FM companies. And they in turn rely on specialist cleaners such as REACT to ensure the facilities they manage operate with the highest possible standards of hygiene. In the next of our series of blogs on FM cleaning, we take a look at our periodic deep cleaning services for FM companies in healthcare.
Hospitals need the highest hygiene standards
There are around 1,600 NHS hospitals, treatment centres and specialist care facilities in the UK, run by some 220 acute NHS trusts. (Some of these hospital trusts have between two and eight separate sites, including one of our major NHS clients in London). In addition, there are hundreds of private hospitals separate from the NHS infrastructure. Many of these NHS Trust and private hospitals contract out their cleaning to FM companies. And with our specialist cleaning expertise, we’re in a position to work with those FM companies in turn.
In the twenty-first century, the NHS has had a rigorous focus on cleaning. The Health Act 2006 code of practice placed clear responsibility on the care provider to clean properly. As part of its broader framework, the NHS published new national standards of healthcare cleanliness in April 2021 (you can read the document here > ). One focus is on the need for a collaborative approach, together with clear lines of responsibility. The standards also come up with a renewed commitment to measure and benchmark performance in a uniform way. Compliance with the standards and the auditing processes are written into contracts with cleaning service providers to help achieve that consistency. By contracting out cleaning to a specialist cleaning company such as REACT, NHS hospitals and their outsourced FM contractors can ensure and demonstrate that standards are met.
Different schemes of cleaning, within one rigorous approach
The various environments within hospitals, as well as the equipment within each setting, have different safe cleaning frequencies. For instance, an operating theatre floor must clearly be cleaned much more frequently than the walls in a waiting room. Healthcare providers will determine cleaning frequencies, and audits of cleanliness, according to functional risk categories. Individual NHS Trusts have a good deal of leeway on determining these frequencies, to allow them the operational flexibility they need in their particular facilities. However, national safe cleaning frequencies form a required baseline for all healthcare organisations. (This has obviously come to the fore over the last eighteen months during the Covid-19 pandemic, as FM firms have re-evaluated cleaning frequencies to keep up to date with national advice or guidance).
The focus is on both ‘keep clean’ and ‘deep clean’. Periodic deep clean initiatives can be highly useful for all healthcare providers, by raising the profile of cleanliness for all stakeholders and helping to prioritise funding of cleaning. They can make a significant improvement to the cleanliness of any healthcare environment, by allowing the additional performance of tasks above minimum recommended frequencies.
Constant collaboration for deep cleaning to work properly
We’d highlight two elements of periodic deep cleaning for FM companies in healthcare. First, it should always go together with de-cluttering. This includes planned exercises to tidy wards and departments, ensure storage areas are effectively used, and condemn and dispose of redundant equipment. A deep clean should also include a planned check of equipment such as commodes, waste bag holders, drip stands and mattresses. It’s an ideal opportunity to expedite the replacement of any damaged or worn equipment, as such items may become difficult or impossible to clean effectively.
Secondly, deep cleaning must focus on the details. This will often include a wide range of difficult to reach areas. For instance, additional detail cleaning should cover floor areas such as corners, edges, and door rebates; joints, wheels, and grooves on equipment; and any other awkward items. It may also necessitate dismantling and refitting some items, such as radiators, patient fans, bed frames and other equipment. Of course, this all requires the co-operation of ward and departmental staff with estates, portering, and finance functions within the FM space. This is another instance where collaboration is key to effective cleaning.
Periodic deep cleaning that gets to the heart of hygiene
When it comes to periodic deep cleaning of premises beyond regular scheduled or ad-hoc sessions, our experienced operative