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Nappies

Volume 448: debated on Thursday 29 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures she has put in place to ensure the safety of commercial cloth laundering services supplying NHS maternity wards with communally laundered cloth nappies for newborn babies; at what temperature these nappies are required to be washed; and whether NHS standards for laundry and infection control were met by the laundering services in 2005-06. (78536)

Commercial cloth laundering services supplying national health service maternity wards with communally laundered cloth nappies for newborn babies must comply with HSG(95)18, a copy of which is available in the Library. The guidelines set a thermal disinfection wash cycle in which the water temperature has been raised to 65 degrees Celsius for not less than 10 minutes or to 71 degrees Celsius for not less than three minutes.

A hot wash cycle will destroy most vegetative bacteria and enteric viruses. However, water temperature is only one factor in the laundering process as the cleansing effect of the detergent and the dilution effect of the pre-wash, wash and rinse are also important.

Monitoring of laundry services is a local responsibility.