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Current cleaning services saved at Southampton General Hospital
Campaigners were delighted to hear this week that moves to cut cleaning services at Southampton's biggest hospital - Southampton General, have been dropped by contractor Medirest, which had planned to cut 48 hours worth of daily cleaning from the daily schedule.
According to the Daily Echo reporter, the decision has also been welcomed by University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, which had claimed that Medirest's review included "proposals that were not agreed with the Trust."
The U-turn came just after health chiefs were forced to temporarily close 10 wards to new admissions as it struggled to cope with an outbreak of the winter vomiting bug norovirus.
As had been previously reported by the Daily Echo, the Unison union, which represents cleaning staff at the hospital, said members working on a number of clinical wards, received letters warning them that their hours were at risk. These wards included the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit, Piam Brown children's cancer ward and the acute medical unit.
This led to Hampshire MP Caroline Nokes, who represents Romsey and Southampton North, writing to hospital Trust chief executive Fiona Dalton, asking how any reduction in cleaning hours could enable cleanliness standards to be maintained.
Caroline Nokes has since said: "I am certainly pleased these proposals have been shelved. Cleanliness in our hospitals is of paramount importance and staff, patients and visitors alike expressed concern at any reduction in hours.
"I hope the information from Medirest is accurate and that there will be no reduction in cleaning hours at Southampton General Hospital. What is needed, however, is clarity about this contract and for there to be some proper information forthcoming.
"It certainly looks like a victory for all those who bravely spoke out about the proposals."
A spokesman for University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust has said: "Medirest's review of services and consultation of staff members was conducted independently and included proposals that were not agreed with the Trust.
"As a result the company has concluded its consultation with no reduction in cleaning hours and we will work closely with them to ensure the level of service provided continues to meet the high expectations we set for all of our external partners."
A Medirest spokesman said: "We can confirm that this consultation has now concluded and will not result in a reduction in hours for our cleaning team at the hospital."
Image: courtesy of G P Care Systems
28th November 2013