Patients have a right to clean safe care and the national health service is working hard to ensure that hospitals are clean and safe for patients. The results of the most recent Healthcare Commission in-patient survey reflect this hard work with the NHS achieving its highest ever cleanliness rating.
During the two years in question, the Department took a number of key steps to improve hospital cleanliness including:
the provision of £62.6 million funding for a deep clean of all hospitals in 2007-08;
the requirement that trusts' strategic and operational cleaning plans make provision for on-going deep clean activity;
all NHS bodies being subject to Health Act 2006 Code of Practice on the Prevention and Control of Healthcare Associated Infections, which came into force on 1 October 2006;
Healthcare Commission inspections against the duties set out in the code which require NHS bodies to have appropriate management and clinical governance systems in place to deliver effective infection control;
a national cleanliness summit held in February 2008, hosted by the NHS Chief Executive to discuss key national issues related to hospital cleaning;
an increase in the number of matrons, to 5,000 in May 2008, with more powers over cleaning and matrons and clinical directors reporting to Trust boards on a quarterly basis on infection control and cleanliness;
publication of 'Board to Ward' guidance highlighting the commitment needed to ensure that all staff understand the role they play in preventing infections and providing a clean environment. A copy has been placed in the Library;
the revision of the national specifications for cleanliness in the NHS setting the standard of cleanliness expected across a range of elements that need cleaning, together with suggested cleaning frequencies;
enhancement of patient environment action teams (PEAT) assessment of hospital cleanliness to contain an element relating to year round cleanliness; and
the publication of the strategy document , Clean Safe Care Reducing Infections and saving lives drawing together key initiatives to tackle healthcare associated infections (HCAIs) and cleanliness. A copy has already been placed in the Library.
During the period in question, the NHS spent a total of £1.383 billion on cleaning and cleaning services with expenditure of £663 million in 2006-07 rising to £720 million in 2007-08.