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Superbug battling charity welcomes NHS cleaner pay rises
29 April 2018
A recent pay offer of between 11-13% to hospital cleaners should mark the beginning of a concerted campaign to value the cleaning profession, says Professor Colin Garner, the chief executive of Antibiotic Research UK (ANTRUK), a charity dedicated to fighting superbugs.
“Cleaning is one of the most important jobs in our society and without it, literally everything would shut down,” says Garner. “Yet it receives little recognition and is often poorly paid. Completed in unsociable hours, the impact and importance of our cleaners is not seen or appreciated – or perhaps it is just that the public is snobby about the profession.”
For UK cleaners, the average wage is £7.27 per hour (1). Experience counts for nothing with long service rarely rewarded. Hours can be long and physical and contracts tend to be short-term or even zero hours. When it comes to hospitals and other healthcare facilities though, good cleaning is a matter of life and death, argues Garner.
“Deadly superbugs such as MRSA and C.difficile can be spread if we do not keep hygiene levels high. That involves making sure that potentially contaminated surfaces such as the toilet, flush handle, sinks, taps, light switches and door handles are cleansed thoroughly and that visitors and healthcare professionals have access to hand sanitisers and gel.”
ANTRUK has welcomed the news that NHS cleaners are to receive a significant pay rise to both retain and recruit the best crop of cleaners to the profession.
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The charity has also saluted hospital trusts who have recently committed to improving their infection control practices.
With evidence suggesting that the use of antibacterials in cleaning products could be helping to promote antibiotic resistance (2), ANTRUK has called for more research to be done into cleaning products.
ANTRUK wants the public to act as vigilant visitors when they go and see loved ones in hospital and to report incidents of poor cleaning to hospital authorities.
Continues Colin: “It is refreshing to hear hospital trusts actively encouraging the public to play their part by keeping their hands cleans, dressing any wounds they might have before they step foot on a ward and instructing them not to be afraid of highlighting dirty hand rails or messy toilets to the authorities. This is particularly important at this time when hospitals are busy places and healthcare staff are simply unable to spot poor cleaning.”
(2) https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/antibacteri al-cleaning-products