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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 October 2006, 16:09 GMT 17:09 UK
Patients 'must wear home clothes'
St Helier Hospital
St Helier Hospital is part of the trust
A hospital trust is telling patients to bring their own nightwear in an attempt to save 20m over the next two years.

The Epsom and St Helier Trust's policy comes six days after it announced its first cost-cutting scheme which included staff emptying their own bins.

Geoff Martin, from campaign group Health Emergency, said clothes from a non-clinical environment would increase the chance of infecting the hospital.

But the trust said infection was spread through skin to skin contact.

Victoria Harrison-Cook, spokeswoman for the trust, said: "Infection is not to do with clothes... visitors come into the hospital everyday."

She added that emergency pyjamas and nightwear were being issued through the trust's own failure to remind patients to bring their own bedclothes.

The scheme is another penny-pinching measure being introduced by a trust deep in financial crisis
Geoff Martin

"Our usage is much higher than in other hospitals," she said.

The trust said all patient correspondence would now ask patients to bring their own nightwear when coming into hospital, saving 50,000 per year.

"Provision would be available in the short-term for unexpected requirements, such as when a patient is admitted via accident and emergency," it added.

Other "quick win" initiatives include purchasing equipment designed for the care of clinically obese patients instead of hiring it, saving between 70,000 and 80,000 each year.

The trust will also start sending its waste paper produced by Epsom and St Helier hospitals to be recycled, which is free of charge, to reduce the 940 metric tons of domestic waste currently produced which cost 82,000 each year.

Waste paper from Sutton Hospital is already recycled.

'Tip of the iceberg'

In addition, the use of taxis by staff for trust business has been limited to occasions where there is no alternative transport, saving about 25,000 per year.

Mr Martin said the cuts were "another penny-pinching measure being introduced by a trust deep in financial crisis."

He added that the measures were the "tip of the iceberg" and a great deal of money needed to be saved.

"I'm worried what else is in the pipeline," he said.

Ms Harrison-Cook said the trust had been very open that changes needed to be made and admitted that more needed to be made in the future.

Epsom and St Helier Trust is not currently in debt but needs to make 20m of savings over the next two years to keep a balance.


SEE ALSO
Hospital staff told to empty bins
29 Sep 06 |  Southern Counties
'MRSA risk' patients on baby ward
27 Jan 06 |  Southern Counties

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