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Behind the scenes at Liverpool Women’s Hospital

09 November 2017

OCS was recently awarded a contract that covers cleaning services at Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust. Here, head of cleaning Yvonne Taylor details the organisation’s strict procedure to keep infectious bacteria to a minimum

What are OCS’s cleaning and infection prevention routines at Liverpool’s Women’s Hospital? 

OCS works very closely with the infection prevention team at Liverpool Women’s to ensure that it continually improves its processes and exceeds expectations. Routines vary across the site, as each area within the hospital is subject to its own unique schedule determining how and when certain tasks are performed. 

Staff flexibility is incredibly important for fighting infection due to the highly dynamic nature of the hospital environment. The company ensures that there is comprehensive cover around the clock, with extra staff also on standby if necessary. Senior management makes considerable effort to ensure cleaning operatives integrate fully with the ward managers, matrons and wider nursing staff. Doing so means that the company’s cleaning efforts align with wider hospital procedure and reduces the risk of error. 

A one-stop microfibre system is used throughout the Trust. Each area has its own cleaning trolley where tools are stored, including high and low dusting tools, mirror and glass tools, mop poles, and cloths. This approach keeps all equipment to hand, reducing the risk of cross-contamination. An ‘area-specific’ principle is also applied to all electric equipment across the facility to further help minimise the spread of bacteria. Used tools and appliances are subsequently cleaned using a central JLA OTEX laundry system that eliminates micro-organisms.

How does OCS measure its success internally? 

OCS is a strong believer in joint monitoring and conducts regular meetings with all its healthcare clients to review and appraise activity. At Liverpool Women’s quality monitoring is completed in-line with 2007 NHS cleaning standards that clearly detail the frequencies for cleaning in each hospital area. OCS complements this standard through its own live data and helpdesk services, using these to categorise tasks in terms of importance and check response times. The client has complete access to this system to ensure that its own priorities align with OCS’s. 

Are there any innovative techniques involved as part of OCS’s provision?

In October 2015, OCS set up a cleaning forum that meets quarterly. Each OCS business sector is represented along with representatives from sales, procurement, sales support, commercial, IT, client services and HSQE. The purpose of this forum is to:

  • Develop a consistent approach to cleaning across the business.
  • Liaise with the operations colleagues, discuss best practice, and explain procedural changes.
  • Meet with suppliers who can demonstrate new and innovative technology. 
  • Gain feedback on trials. 
  • Discuss innovations and the benefits of rolling these out. 
  • Allow information to be exchanged that enhances OCS’s work both in terms of service improvement and cost efficiency.  

This approach has allowed OCS and its clients to develop an open ongoing dialogue, helping both parties to track progress, recognise successes, and monitor any issues closely. 

What training or qualifications do staff need to undertake in order to work on an OCS healthcare contract?

All OCS staff are trained by suppliers on the equipment and materials used on site. Independent audits are also carried out by the suppliers on a regular basis, remaining throughout the life of a contract. In addition to this, OCS uses an in-house training programme that focuses on cleaning skills required for cleaning operatives working in healthcare. This includes: infection prevention and control; bodily spillages training; needlestick training; HSQE level one; chemical competency; safe assembly and care of equipment; and correct storage of tools and materials. 

The company also makes an effort to identify members of staff who have an in-depth knowledge of the systems, processes and procedures that can train and audit staff. This method provides greater consistency of service across a contract, and allows competency checks to be carried by those closer to day-to-day activity. Further training is also given to supervisors.  

What role do you believe cleaning plays, overall, in the prevention of disease and infection? 

The role of a cleaning operative is critical to the control and prevention of infections in hospitals – it is a team effort from all parties present at the hospital. Correct hand hygiene is perhaps the most essential element when minimising the spread of bacteria, but without a clean environment to begin with, hands quickly become re-contaminated. OCS looks to acknowledge the importance of each individual contribution and instil a culture of pride when going about its work.