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Monday, 31 July, 2000, 10:33 GMT 11:33 UK
NHS clean-up begins
Waiting room
Hospitals will have to ensure waiting areas are clean
The government has launched a campaign to clean up hospitals in England.

It follows a report earlier this month which showed many hospitals were dirty and untidy.

Health minister Lord Hunt launched the government's hospital clean-up campaign on Monday.

The NHS Plan, which details plans to modernise the health service, allocated more than 30m towards cleaning up and improving the image of hospitals.

The clean-up campaign aims to improve patients' experiences of the NHS.

Lord Hunt said: "Patients expect tidy wards and corridors, smart main entrances, clean furniture and flooring and better decor.

"A good quality environment is essential to give a feeling of well-being and confidence in the NHS.

"Patients have a right to receive treatment, and recover in clean and comfortable surroundings.

"The NHS Hospital Clean-up initiative will help ensure that all trusts meet acceptable standards of cleanliness for the benefit of NHS patients and staff."

Every hospital trust in England is to be given extra money to carry out the clean-up operation.

Managers are being asked to draw up and implement a thorough clean-up action plan for their hospitals.

They will be expected to clean up all patient areas, toilets, outpatient wards, and accident and emergency departments.

They will also be asked to ensure all bed linen is clean and to replace all chairs and beds which are beyond repair.

As part of the NHS plan, every hospital will have an unnannouced inspection to see if they are keeping it clean.

Every NHS trust will also be asked to nominate a board member who will be responsible for monitoring hospital cleanliness.

A report carried out by consultants from Richard Branson's Virgin group on behalf of the Department of Health criticised cleanliness in some hospitals.

It said nobody seemed to be in charge of keeping wards and corridors clean in some areas, and in one case, they found corridors strewn with cigarette ends.

Alastair Henderson, policy manager at the NHS Confederation which represents hospital trusts, said the campaign and funding was a welcome start.

"In our submissions to the national plan, we emphasised the need to address the basics. Year on year efficiency savings by Trusts had caused real problems.

"As I understand it, this is a one-off spring cleaning but 31m is a welcome start."

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See also:

27 Jul 00 | NHS reform
NHS Plan: at a glance
27 Jul 00 | NHS reform
Improving patient service
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