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Worker claims lack of resources means ‘Derriford Hospital isn’t being cleaned properly’

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An ex-Derriford Hospital worker says he is worried a lack of resources means the wards are not being cleaned properly.

The cleaner has spoken out about their concerns over patients getting sick because, they say, there hasn’t been enough staff to clean the areas needed.

The man, who asked to remain anonymous, claimed staff were being told to clean two, three or sometimes four wards in a four hour shift – when their training stated that one ward should take that amount of time.

As a result, the cleaner, who no longer works for Serco, fears infection control is at much higher risk of spreading around the hospital.

They added that the ‘norm’ was to complete a ward over four hours, which would include changing bins, cleaning toilets, doing enhanced cleans, final cleans and mopping floors.

As well as that, they claimed audits were being ‘botched’.

“They [supervisors] carry out pre-audit audits where they check a ward, put down what needs doing before the following day when the official audit that goes back to the NHS trust happens,” said the ex-employee.

“They do this to make it look like things are far more clean than they actually are day by day.

“One of the things that I couldn’t help but feel while I worked there is that I hoped that no one I knew got seriously sick. I wouldn’t want them there purely based on the cleanliness of the place.

“I am also aware of severe diarrhoea and sickness bug that is sweeping through the hospital. I can’t help but feel that this hasn’t been contained as well as it should be, because of the lack of cleanliness at the hospital.

“I feel people have a right to know how bad things are there.”

Tim Smith, Serco contract director, said: “We are committed to maintaining the highest standards of cleanliness at Derriford hospital and our performance is closely monitored by the Trust as well as by patient representatives.

“In the latest report by Healthwatch, the independent patient group, the Trust scored over 98 per cent for cleanliness.

“The number of cleaning staff currently employed at the hospital is in line with previous years but we are keen to receive job applications from the local community to fill a small number of vacancies.

“During the winter season we do sometimes have to manage an increased level of sickness absence without compromising our high service standards, meaning some staff work across multiple wards to ensure all the cleaning we need to do is completed.”

Serco currently employs 361 domestic cleaning staff, compared to 365 at the same point last year.

The company added that it is proud that the standards of cleanliness at Derriford have consistently improved in recent years and this progress has been recognised by the Trust’s director of infection control and the facilities team.

Nick Thomas, director of planning and site services, said: “We are aware that Serco are currently experiencing some temporary staffing challenges but the Trust is confident that our cleaning standards are not currently been adversely affected.

“Both Serco and Trust staff undertake frequent spot-checks and any issues are dealt with straight away. In addition to spot-checks, there are a programme of formal cleanliness audits in place. These audits are jointly conducted by Serco and a member of our clinical or Facilities teams.

“The majority of our wards are inspected every week, so any issues are quickly highlighted and resolved. We review the performance over time, and report this performance to the Trust’s Infection Prevention Sub-Committee on a monthly basis.

“Each year, we undertake and publicly report on a major assessment of the hospital environment, which is conducted and led by a group of patient representatives and members of our local Healthwatch.

“In the last assessment, the Trust scored 98 per cent for cleanliness, which is consistent with the national average, and we are confident that this high score will be maintained in the 2018 assessment. The Healthwatch patient representatives assist the Trust to maintain the standards by conducting a series of mini-assessments with us throughout the year.

“The Trust is very proud of our cleaning standards and the staff who work so hard to keep it clean and safe for our patients.”

 

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