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Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust takes cleaning back in house
Our friends at Duplex have alerted us to a story in the Mid Sussex Times which describes how cleaning and housekeeping is now being managed by a hospital trust after the £15m contract with Sodexo ended - and looking at the picture it's easy to see why!
The publication reports that Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the Princess Royal in Haywards Heath and the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton, has taken over the contract to run soft facilities management services and that the trust has invested in new equipment including ward drinks trolleys and wheelchairs and new cleaning equipment.
Staff are also wearing new uniforms, which are colour-coded depending on their role.
Matthew Kershaw, chief executive of BSUH, told the reporter that the 650 staff involved have been 'fully integrated' into the trust, saying: "I am really pleased to welcome our Soft FM colleagues as full members of the BSUH team.
"For many patients, these staff are just as important to their care as the doctors and nurses. A friendly porter getting somebody to the right place makes a real difference; a well presented meal is more likely to be eaten; and the cleanliness of our hospitals inside and out is vital to safe care."
Cleanzine had reported on an issue that was being taken up by the GMB union at Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals some months back over what the union claimed was Sodexo's failure to deal with staff concerns over lack of equipment - while acknowledging the lack of funding - although we are unaware whether this dispute or the GMB's claims have resulted in the decision to bring cleaning back in-house.
At the time, the union stated:
"Without attention, building works in the hospitals and lack of equipment will make the transporting of patients and the cleaning of the hospital worse and even more of a challenge for hard pressed Sodexo staff," warning that it was undertaking a ballot for action for cleaners, housekeepers and porters employed by Sodexo on the contract, over what it said was the failure to deal with staff concerns over lack of basic equipment and inadequate staffing levels - issues that had not been addressed some 12 months after they were brought to the contractor's and Trust's attention. The union did, however, acknowledge the "severe stresses and strains placed on our hospitals through underfunding and under resourcing."
Gary Palmer, GMB Regional Organiser, said at the time: "Cleaners increasingly find themselves not being issued on a daily basis with the required number of clean mops / cloths etc, necessary in preventing cross infection. Some are having to resort to either secretly hiding things away or taking equipment from each other, just so they can ensure they carry out their own individual duties.
"Morale is at an all-time low. The lack of support by both Sodexo and the Trust in resolving matters over such a long time, means that despite of the very best efforts of Sodexo staff, and they are working extremely hard, they have to be failing both the Trust and Sodexo's own acceptable service standard provision."
Ed: It will be interesting to see how the changes have impacted on cleaning standards and staff morale, further down the line.
1st October 2015