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Meeting mandatory cleanliness standards in healthcare

Tuesday, 1 March 2022
While all remaining legal restrictions relating to COVID-19 have been lifted, the need to maintain impeccable infection control processes within the healthcare sector as we live with COVID continues. As suppliers, our role in helping facilities maintain excellent cleanliness and hygiene, as well as continuing the supply of quality products to healthcare settings is imperative. This support comes at a critical time when facilities up and down the country have been impacted by numerous challenges, including labour shortages exacerbated both by Brexit and COVID-19.

Kelly Brierley, key account manager at Robert Scott, shares her insight on the key priorities for the healthcare sector and how facilities can ensure they’re meeting the requirements of the National Standards of Healthcare Cleanliness 2021.

Prioritising training for teams
Healthcare facilities experienced crippling labour shortages during the pandemic, and most are still recovering to meet pre-pandemic staffing levels. With so many new employees joining the janitorial workforce, training is paramount. This should start from the basic cleaning processes and protocols and include in-depth training and education for staff on what equipment to use, and how to use it, to ensure infection control measures are being adhered to across sites.

The right equipment for the job
Last year saw an unprecedented amount of supply chain interruption which put a lot of strain on product availability. Our own research found that 60% of businesses stated that supply chain disruption had a much greater impact on businesses than COVID-19 during 2021.

This meant that healthcare facilities had to source alternative products for cleaning, and we saw a huge increase in the use of disposable products. Now that some level of stability has returned, I would advise any healthcare facility to complete a full audit and inventory of their cleaning equipment to ensure they’re using the most effective products for their requirements.

For hospital and healthcare facilities – trolley cleaning systems are undoubtedly the most efficient way of cleaning on the move. The Alpha Trolley, for example, is a smart, portable solution designed to be used with microfibre products to minimise risk of cross-contamination and provide a more efficient method of cleaning for end users. It’s a system that can be built around the customer’s needs with the necessary compartments and storage for both traditional and microfibre cleaning products.

Improving sustainability 
As part of any audit, healthcare facilities should be looking at how they can reduce the environmental impact of the products they use. Many switched to disposable products during the pandemic where laundry services were unavailable. If products can be laundered on-site then microfibre is the most effective, reusable option for cloths and mop pads. Microfibre mop pads can be pre-soaked with a cleaning solution and easily transported on a trolley system, allowing users to quickly change pads at the end of a designated area to prevent the risk of cross-contamination.
We’ve invested in sustainable product innovation to develop the Ecofibre cloth, offering the cleaning power of traditional microfibre, with the added environmental benefit of using recycled plastic bottles in its production. Each cloth is made from 55% recycled plastic, with two recycled bottles in each Ecofibre cloth, and is suitable for laundering and reuse.

Meeting mandatory standards
This April will see the deadline for all healthcare facilities to comply with the new mandatory National Standards of Healthcare Cleanliness 2021 set out by NHS England. The aim of these standards is to drive improvements towards high quality and safe cleaning services that contribute to overall care provision and the patient experience.
As the categories of risk have been expanded this year, meeting the standards and maintaining compliance will require robust and regular auditing processes. The results of these audits and subsequent cleanliness star ratings will also be required to be public facing. Therefore, it’s in the interest of any healthcare facility to be working towards the maximum star rating by implementing a thorough audit, regular training, and inventory of their cleaning stock to ensure they’re best placed to succeed.

For more information, please contact 01457 819400 or email