Nurses 'cleaning wards at cash-strapped hospitals'

20th of August 2012
Nurses 'cleaning wards at cash-strapped hospitals'

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.

Nursing staff at the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust in the UK have been required to clean and tidy in acute and general admission wards despite fears that it will divert from patient care.

The move is said to be a response to a lack of funding for round-the-clock cleaning services, with one hospital site having to cope without full-time professional cleaners for two days each week.

Tracey McErlain-Burns, chief nurse at the trust, said: "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."

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".

The report stated: "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."


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