Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: Health
Front Page 
World 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Background Briefings 
Medical notes 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 
Wednesday, 5 April, 2000, 14:56 GMT 15:56 UK
Clampdown on hospital hygiene
Masked doctors
Hygiene standards will apply to all hospitals
Hospital wards will have to meet national standards for hygiene, Health Secretary Alan Milburn has announced.

The guidance, the first for 25 years, is designed to cut the rising number of infections caught by patients while they are in hospital.

A recent National Audit Office report found that hospital-acquired infections were costing the NHS 1bn a year to treat, and kill around 5,000 patients a year.

Speaking at the Royal College of Nursing annual congress in Bournemouth, Mr Milburn said: "You can't provide high standards if the caring aspects of health are lost - or if hospital wards are dirty."



You can't provide high standards if the caring aspects of health are lost - or if hospital wards are dirty

Health Secretary Alan Milburn
The new standards have been drawn up by the Infection Control Nurses Association.

Dee May, infection control adviser for the RCN said: "Levels of cleanliness have deteriorated in recent years.

"Because cleaning services are now contracted out, ward sisters do not have any responsibility for services.

"The contracts mean hospitals try to get as much as they can for their money.

"There are huge numbers of vacancies, staff are very difficult to recruit and they are very poorly paid.

"I have seen dust under beds, cotton wool buds on the floor and dirty needles dumped in discarded meal trays.

"These guidelines are about changing the curtains around beds, cleaning the floors, cleaning bathrooms."



I have seen dust under beds, cotton wool buds on the floor and dirty needles dumped in discarded meal trays

Dee May, Infection control adviser, Royal College of Nursing

Potentially fatal infections such as MRSA are carried in dust mites and a study has shown that improving ward cleanliness can reduce infections.

The guidelines are to be sent out later this month to all hospital trusts as part of Government plans to reduce infection rates.

Ms May said cleaning workers must be trained and educated about infection control and staff numbers increased.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

05 Apr 00 | Scotland
Patients catching hospital bugs
17 Feb 00 | Health
NHS bugs 'kill 5,000 a year'
23 Feb 00 | Health
Hospital fabrics harbour bugs
22 Nov 99 | Health
Superbugs in the firing line
Internet links:


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

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


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Health stories