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NHS moves ahead with hospital deep clean

Health Secretary Alan Johnson today announced detailed regional funding for deep cleaning and confirmed the date by which all NHS hospitals in England will have carried out the procedure.

In a statement to the House of Commons, he told MPs that all Trusts would have to submit detailed deep clean plans, including costs, to their Primary Care Trusts and Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs).

Deep cleaning is one element of a wider range of measures introduced by the Government which all Trusts need to take to tackle health care associated infections and ensure patient safety.

Foundation Trusts will also be invited to agree plans and funding for additional deep cleaning with local commissioners, together with local arrangements for checking the agreed work has been carried out. SHAs will, in turn, be expected to report progress across their regions to the Department of Health.

“Undertaking a deep clean is a key part of our strategy to improve cleanliness and ensure patients have confidence that their hospitals are safe,” Mr Johnson said.

“The Strategic Health Authorities have now allocated funding so that hospitals can get on with the Deep Clean programme this winter with the aim of completing all deep cleans by the end of March 2008. People want an NHS that is clean and safe, the deep clean programme will help to reassure patients and build public confidence in the NHS.”

Progress on the deep clean programme and new details on reporting were unveiled as the results of the latest Patient Environment and Action Team (PEAT) inspection were published by the National Patient Safety Agency.

The inspections measure patient satisfaction with a range of areas including food and aspects of privacy and dignity, as well as cleanliness and the patient environment.

The figures published today also show that in 2007, 98% of hospitals were rated excellent, good or acceptable: up from 95% in 2006. This is against a more rigorous process in 2007 than for 2006.

Mr Johnson said: “Patients tell me that they are concerned about standards of cleanliness in the NHS and their concerns are my concern. I am pleased to say that hospitals have made progress. This year’s PEAT inspection results show only a handful of hospitals rated ‘poor’ or ‘unacceptable’ for the patient environment.

“This is good progress, but every hospital in England should aspire to the level of the best. Excellent standards are what patients and staff want and should expect from our NHS.”