Contractors warn over hospitals 'deep clean'

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Indy Politics

Gordon Brown's much trumpeted hospital "deep clean" is in danger of becoming a "£50 million flash in the pan", cleaning contractors warned today.

The plan for all NHS hospitals to undergo a ward-by-ward deep clean in an attempt to eradicate infections such as MRSA and C-difficile was announced by the Prime Minister at the Labour Party conference in September.

But the Cleaning and Support Services Association (CSSA), representing the cleaning companies, warned that without additional funding for regular day-to-day cleaning, the benefits would quickly be lost.

CSSA director general Andrew Large told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Our concern is that unless there is sustained funding of day-to-day hospital cleaning, then these deep cleanings will prove to be a £50 million flash in the pan.

"Unless cleaning budgets are upped in order to ensure that hospitals can be cleaned more frequently than is currently the case, then the positive results of the deep clean - and there will undoubtedly be positive results of the deep clean - will end up being lost in the mists of time."

Mr Large denied that he was simply seeking to boost the profits of the cleaning companies.

"I can absolutely and categorically say that this is not an issue of contractors seeking to make further profits from the NHS," he said.

But chief nursing officer Christine Beasley said additional funds have already been allocated to cleaning, on top of the £50 million for the deep clean.

"Nationally we expect the highest standards from each hospital. I would be very surprised if chief executives in each hospital weren't looking very closely at what goes into their cleaning budgets," she told the Today programme.

"There is no doubt over the last few years cleaning budgets have increased and we would expect them to be at the level that provides the highest standards."