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Mention our National Health Service to anyone and there’s bound to be a heated discussion; either over its perceived demise, money being wasted on overpaid/incompetent executives, privatisation, unfathomable procurement decisions or its cleaning – with much of the public believing that we should go back to the practice of ‘Matron’ being in charge of cleaning, rather than the work being outsourced (my view on cleaning is that while Matron’s system worked perfectly well decades ago when hospitals were tiny in comparison, it would be a nightmare to manage now with the hospital facilities so large and their interiors so complex).
Last week’s Leader, which focused on NHS procurement and mentioned the old warm air hand dryer versus paper towels argument, drew – as I thought it might have done – a fair bit of comment, but one in particular astounded me as it flagged up something that had never occurred to me…
It came from our dear friend Alan Hardcastle who set up Inclean magazine in Australia and ran it so well for decades until his retirement a few years back. I had the pleasure of being one of his columnists for some years and he was a real professional as well as a font of information and great ideas.
He wrote this week: 'Jan - I always read your editorials! The latest has prompted me to write... hand driers, those that blow air on your hands, are fitted with filters (often HEPA?) that are meant to be changed. When editor of Inclean I never tackled the issue of how often contract cleaners change these filters. I suspect never. All the best to you and John, Alan.'
Well that’s two of us then!
It’s been a long time since I did my training as a cleaner and while the washroom cleaning module included instruction on such things as the safe way to search for hypodermic syringes, it didn’t include the changing of filters in either ordinary fans or in hand dryers. Is it on your cleaning schedule I wonder? If it is, how often do you or your team change/clean the filters? Alan Hardcastle and I would love to know…
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5th December 2019