BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: Health
Front Page 
UK Politics 
Background Briefings 
Medical notes 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

The BBC's Judith Moloney
"Hospital matrons are to be given extra powers to ensure their wards are spotless"
 real 56k

Bristol Royal Infirmary's Doug Groocock
"What we suffer from is having older buildings, and the older the building the harder it is to maintain high standards"
 real 28k

Director of the Patients Association Mike Stone
"This cannot be a one-off survey"
 real 28k

Pearce Butler, Broadgreen Hospital, Liverpool
"We have been running a hospital in a building site"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 10 April, 2001, 14:20 GMT 15:20 UK
Dirty hospitals 'named and shamed'
Inspectors found 42 hospitals failed to meet basic hygiene standards
Health Secretary Alan Milburn has named and shamed hospitals who failed to meet basic hygiene standards.

A total of 40 hospitals have failed at the second attempt to meet standards laid down by the Department of Health as part of a 60m campaign to improve cleanliness in the health service.

There is to be no let up in our drive to raise standards of hospital cleanliness

Alan Milburn, Health Secretary
Spot-check inspections were carried out on 689 hospitals in England.

The standard of hygiene was so poor in 10 hospitals that they have been named, put on "special measures" and told they have until the autumn to clean up their acts.

Special hit squads will be sent in to these hospitals in a bid to improve standards.

The Department of Health said the 10 hospitals were not necessarily the dirtiest, but were the ones which had the most difficult struggle to improve.

The 10 hospitals put on "special measures" were:

  • Broadgreen Hospital, Liverpool
  • Bristol Royal Infirmary, Bristol
  • Russells Hall Hospital, Dudley, West Midlands
  • Corbett Hospital, Dudley, West Midlands
  • Wordsley Hospital, Dudley, West Midlands
  • Guest Hospital, Dudley, West Midlands
  • Mount Vernon Hospital, Northwood, Herts
  • Watford Hospital, Watford, Herts
  • Essex County Hospital, Colchester, Essex
  • Pembury Hospital, Tunbridge Wells, Kent
These hospitals will get a cash injection of between 250,000 and 750,000 to help bring them up to standard.

Hit squads of experts from the best trusts will be sent in to supervise a clean up.

A spokesperson for the United Bristol Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI), said the trust faced a particular challenge because many of its buildings were exceptionally old.

Poor hygiene found by inspectors
Rotting food left on wards for days
Overflowing toilets
Pigeons in reception and eating areas
The spokesperson said improvements were being made, and welcomed a 150,000 cash injection it received last autumn.

Doug Grewcock, director of estates for the trust, added: "Whilst the 150,000 goes some way towards improving the environment in the BRI, maintaining such buildings remains a considerable challenge."

But he said progress was being made.

A spokeswoman for the Dudley Group of Hospitals, which includes the Russells Hall Hospital, Wordsley Hospital, Corbett Hospital and Guest Hospital, said they had only been inspected once.

She said a government inspector visited them in the autumn, when they were put on 'red', but stressed that they had made changes since then.

She said three out of the four hospitals were Victorian work-houses and "environmentally poor".

"But by 2004 we will have a brand-new hospital in Dudley for in-patients and two hospitals to deal with out-patients and diagnostic cases."

Pearce Butler, chief executive of Broadgreen Hospital, Liverpool, told the BBC the hospital had struggled to cope with extensive building work.

"In effect we have been running a hospital on a building site. Every roadway has been replaced, every car park has been re-done and that has meant that the whole place has got very grubby, and it has been really difficult to keep it clean."

New standards

New National Hospital Cleaning Standards aimed at raising cleanliness levels will also be published on Tuesday.

The inspections, carried out earlier this year, found that 94% had cleanliness standards that were acceptable or higher.

However, 6% were deemed poor.

The inspection teams included nurses, patients and managers who checked 14 categories, including ward furniture, linen, decor and smells.

Similar inspections last year found that a third of hospitals - a total of 253 - had unacceptable cleaning standards.

This prompted a three-month spring-cleaning programme which has seen work carried out on 1,000 wards, 1,600 reception areas and 1,100 toilet blocks throughout the NHS.

Hospitals have been rated using a red, amber or green traffic light system on the basis of how clean they are.

Health Secretary Alan Milburn said the move to bring matrons back to the hospital wards from next April should improve standards.

He said dealing with cleaning contractors would be part of the matron's remit and they would be given the power to halt payments to cleaning contractors who fail to keep hospital cleanliness standards up to scratch.

He stressed cleanliness standards remained a top concern for the NHS.

He said: "Despite this marked improvement, there is to be no let up in our drive to raise standards of hospital cleanliness.

"The fundamentals of care are too important to be left to chance."

Up to 5,000 patients die from a hospital-acquired infection every year, costing the NHS 1 billion.

Mike Stone, director of the Patient's Association, said he was pleased to see the government taking action, but stressed there was more work still to be done.

He said: "I just hope this isn't a one-off initiative in the run-up to the general election.

"Cleanliness in hospitals needs to be top of the agenda."

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
See also:

10 Apr 01 | Health
The ten dirty hospitals
31 Jul 00 | Health
NHS clean-up begins
23 Nov 00 | Health
Hospital bugs kill thousands
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Health stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Health stories