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Edinburgh Royal Infirmary cleaning to be brought back in house
Hospital cleaning services at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary are going to be brought back in house as part of the ongoing fight against superbugs - despite the facility’s inspection reports showing that the hospital has consistently scored well and cases of MRSA have almost been eradicated, reports the Edinburgh Evening News.
The Scottish Government called some time ago for health boards to phase out the use of contract cleaning services in a bid to reduce the spread of infections, but the measure was not enforced at the ERI because the PFI contract entitled Consort to run domestic services, which are currently provided by private company, Cofely.
The Edinburgh Evening News reported earlier this month, that cases of c.difficile in Lothian hospitals were on the rise despite national rates plunging to the lowest ever levels since monitoring began. We understand that the trend led experts to be drafted in from Health Protection Scotland to assist the board in meeting targets in the future.
The publication reveals that negotiations are now underway to move 300 domestic staff from Cofely to NHS Lothian for the first time since the hospital was built in 2002, bringing the service in line with other hospitals across Scotland and the Lothians. NHS Lothian bosses told reporters that talks were at “an early stage” but that they were hopeful cleaning staff would be brought back under their umbrella within months.
George Curley, director of operations facilities at NHS Lothian, said: “We are in the very early stages of looking in to the possibility of bringing domestic staff under the control of NHS Lothian.
“Our domestic staff provide a really important service and by bringing them in-house we feel it would improve capability and benefit patient care.”
Maggie Cornwall, who has worked as an NHS cleaner for 19 years, said that most staff were keen to move back to the health service.
“It was like that before this new hospital opened and there’s quite a few of us who are looking forward to it coming back to the NHS,” she said.
“I would like to be part of the NHS family again. A lot of the wards managers think we are part of the team already but this would make it official.”
Tom Waterson, Unison branch chairman for Lothian, welcomed the move – on the proviso that staff jobs would be safe.
“At other hospitals the domestic staff are part of the ward team and it seems to work better,” he said. “Staff are proud to wear the NHS uniform.
“Obviously, we will be seeking assurances that the all jobs are retained and that there will be decent terms and conditions.”
The move has also been welcomed by Edinburgh Southern MSP Jim Eadie, who has called for a Government investigation into the ERI contract. He said: “It’s absolutely right that this important part of the NHS should be brought in-house.”
Image courtesy of www.edinphoto.org.uk
31st July 2014