Cleanzine-logo-11.jpgCleanzine: your weekly cleaning and hygiene industry newsletter 20th April 2017 Issue no. 768

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Irish Public Accounts Committee questions "astonishing" amount spent on hospital cleaning

* PAC-chairman.jpgQuestions are being asked about the Irish Health Service Executive's €38 million spend on external cleaning companies last year.

An item in this week's Irish Times cites a letter sent by HSE assistant national director Ray Mitchell, to the Dail Public Accounts Committee, which is said to have reported that the contract cleaning bill had reached €38,222,274 in 2014. The letter is also said to have confirmed that €12,219,932 was distributed to five companies in the HSE East region alone.

PAC chairman John McGuinness (pictured) said there were serious questions over the amount spent.

"This is an astonishing amount of money," he told the publication. "There are a lot of concerns over value for money here. Several reports by the Health Information & Quality Authority have criticised hospitals for their lack of cleanliness. There have been a number of patients reporting dirty surroundings including dirty bed sheets.

"Yet the bill for cleaning companies is increasing every year. So there have to be some questions over whether this is the most appropriate way of doing business."

The letter to the PAC revealed that Noonan was the biggest beneficiary, earning €16,252,614 for its services, followed by ISS, which received €12,163,909. On top of this, there were also 757 staff working directly for the HSE as full-time cleaners, earning a total gross pay during 2014 of €24 million. This brings the total amount spent on cleaning by the HSE to €62 million.

Political party Fine Gael's Paul Connaughton said the amount seemed "excessive" and more detail was required from the HSE.

"We all want safer and cleaner hospitals but a conversation needs to be had about whether we are getting the best value for our money," he said. "There are issues around government procurement services and the HSE is one of the biggest sinners. We need to check where that money is being spent, on what and whether there is scope for change.

"The HSE will need to be in a position to stand over the money spent and clarify the concerns surrounding it."

Mr Connaughton said the matter would be raised with officials when the HSE appears before the PAC until after the summer recess.

www.irishtimes.com

16th July 2015




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