Nurses pay price of cleaning cuts

05 Sep 2012

Hospital hygiene is back in the spotlight after a new survey found that nurses are being forced to clean toilets and mop floors in addition to carrying out patient care.

A Nursing Times survey of 1,000 nurses and health assistants revealed a third had cleaned toilets or mopped floors in the last year.

Some even reported cleaning corridors, computers, nursing stations and offices.

Two fifths of nurses admitted to cleaning a bed area or single room following the discharge of an infectious patient, with a further 81% saying they had cleaned up after the discharge of a non-infectious patient.

Strikingly, almost three quarters said they had not received training for these cleaning jobs.

Over half of the NHS nurses asked believed cleaning services for their ward were inadequate.

Around a fifth said their hospital trust had cut cleaning services in the last year, and 37% admitted their trust would not close a bed to patients - even if it had not been cleaned properly.

Rose Gallagher, adviser on infection prevention and control at the Royal Convention of Nursing, told the Nursing Times: "This is not about saying nurses are too posh to wash.

"Cleaning in hospitals is not the same as cleaning your own home."

Copyright Press Association 2012

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