Hospital contract cleaning staff cut amid superbug outbreak

By June 22, 2010Articles

Hospital contract cleaning staff cut amid superbug outbreak

Contract cleaning services were curtailed at a Scotland hospital during an outbreak of a superbug, it has emerged.

Newly released official figures cited by Northern Scotland’s Press & Journal newspaper show that NHS Orkney reduced the number of cleaning hours at Balfour Hospital in Kirkwall from 1,014 in between 2008 and 2009 to 965 between 2009 and 2010.

The Healthcare Environment Inspectorate surveyed the 70-bed hospital in November – six months after the outbreak and found that patients were being forced to use dirty portable toilets that were unsuitable for purpose.

It also transpired that a total of 17 people fell ill with Clostridium difficile (C difficile) and two people died in January and February last year.

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Rhoda Grant called on the Scottish government to do everything it can to make sure health boards do not cut commercial cleaning staff in an effort to reduce costs.

“There is no doubt that when NHS boards cut cleaning on the front line then infection rates go up and patients get ill,” she told the paper.

“Patients should have an absolute right to be treated in clean and safe conditions.”

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