*Cleanzine_logo_2a.jpgCleanzine: your weekly cleaning and hygiene industry newsletter 23rd May 2024 Issue no. 1115

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Over the past decade I've become quite a regular at my local A&E department, not because I'm unwell, but through taking various friends and family members and even my daughter's piano teacher - who'd suffered a stroke mid-lesson - for help from the experts whenever a medical emergency has arisen.

Despite it being long before the pubs closed, (which if you're one of our tens of thousands of overseas readers, has historically proved a busy time for UK A&E departments) Epsom General Hospital's emergency department was heaving yesterday evening and overnight. Having arrived in a sparklingly clean ambulance, we bypassed most of the queue and ended up in a treatment area crammed with patients and their families awaiting help from the nursing teams who were cheerfully rushing from one patient to another.

When I first joined the cleaning industry some 25 years ago, cleaners tended to be referred to as 'the invisible workforce', because they generally had to carry out their work when whichever building or area they were tasked with cleaning, was devoid of human traffic. Not so these days!

Over several hours, I was able to watch several team members from Mitie, weave their way around often-distressed groups of people, emptying bins, wiping surfaces and sweeping debris from the floors, as well as ferrying patients around in wheelchairs and providing security. They have my utmost admiration!

The work is difficult at the best of times but under these circumstances it must have been trying. I couldn't really find fault with anything they did; uniforms were clean and smart, gloves were worn, cross-contamination procedures were adhered to and sweeping and wiping techniques were admirable. Oh yes - and they smiled and engaged with staff and visitors!

The only negatives were that the bin was emptied (no doubt to schedule) when only half full, which meant that an orange plastic sack was used unnecessarily. As you know, I hate the unnecessary use of plastic and I hate waste, so I was willing the cleaner who was weighing up whether to change the bin or not, to leave it until later (I lost). What really got my goat though was the amount of rubbish he had to manipulate around whilst sweeping. How dare members of the public drop their litter around the A&E department to be cleaned up by the very people who are keeping the life-saving facility running? Talk about disrespectful!

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Jan Hobbs

22nd November 2018

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