The Government’s multi-million pound deep clean of NHS hospitals has come under attack from leading experts and opposition parties.
The £57.5 million programme came to an end yesterday, with the majority of NHS Trusts – but not all – meeting the deadline.
But the initiative was launched without any evidence that it would cut rates of healthcare acquired infection, according to opposition party the Liberal Democrats.
Liberal Democrat Shadow Health Secretary, Norman Lamb said: “This whole exercise has been an expensive example of gesture politics and was flawed from the outset.
“The Government didn’t assess whether deep cleans would really stop the superbug epidemic before foisting them onto hospitals. Many trusts are having to pay for the cleans themselves, leaving less money for patients.”
As the deep clean comes to an end, a Parliamentary Answer from the Department of Health shows that no research into the possible benefits was commissioned before the deep clean was ordered.
The Cleaning and Support Services Association (CSSA), which represents private contractors undertaking the deep clean, says that the industry is concerned now is about what will happen after the deep cleans are over.
Speaking following a CSSA review of the hospital deep cleans, Andrew Large – Director General of the CSSA said: “The extra investment in hospital cleaning has generally made a noticeable improvement to standards of cleanliness, which strongly suggests that if more funds and time were available on a permanent basis, higher standards would be maintained. Without such a long term plan from the Government the deep clean risks being seen as a publicity stunt.”
The Independent quotes Professor Hugh Pennington of the University of Aberdeen, who said: “Politicians get hung up on cleaning but the major issue isn’t environmental, it is the people bringing the bugs into hospital. That is what they should be attacking.”