The modernisation of the NHS begins this week with the most traditional of healthcare tools - the mop and bucket.

The modernisation of the NHS begins this week with the most traditional of healthcare tools - the mop and bucket.

NHS managers have been ordered to spruce up their hospitals by the autumn in the first stage of a drive to make the health service more consumer-friendly. Under the £31m "Hospital clean-up" campaign, launched yesterday by Lord Hunt of King's Heath, a Health minister, NHS trusts will be given up to £150,000 to spruce up wards and entrances.

Inspection teams, including patients, will check hospitals every six months and the results will be made public, with dirty places "named and shamed".

Cleaner hospitals should also be safer, according to the National Audit Office, which found that infections acquired in hospitals caused up to 5,000 deaths a year and cost £1bn a year to treat. More than 100,000 people a year fall victim to infections while in hospital, partly caused by poor standards of hygiene.

Lord Hunt said: "A good-quality environment is essential to give a feeling of well-being and confidence in the NHS."

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