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RCN CONGRESS LATEST: Nurses demand in-house cleaning

Nurses at the RCN Congress have called on the government to 'bring back Betty' and abolish contract cleaning firms from hospital wards.

The motion, proposed by May McCreaddie of Greater Glasgow branch of the RCN, called for cleaning services to be brought back in-house.

It follows on from a similar call at Unison's Health Care Service Group conference earlier this month. She said: 'Domestics are an integral part of the ward team.'

Ms Mcreaddie referred to a former in-house cleaning colleague called Betty who used to scare nurses with her incompromising approach. She told delegates: 'We need to bring back Betty!'

Dominic Walsh, a medical admissions unit manager at Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust, backed her comments.

He said standards of cleanliness are high and infection rates at the hospital are low because of the professional relationship with in-house cleaners, adding: 'I know the names of all the cleaners on the ward.'


Readers' comments (4)

  • Totally agree with this proposal. The ward cleaner was part of the team and was also very proud of 'their' ward. The hospital supervisor would often visit the ward and check on the cleaning and good routines were upheld.
    It was also a reasonability of nurses, when a patient was discharged to ensure cleaning was done, this included ensuring the bed, equipment and surrounding area was cleaned when preparing the area for a new admission.
    The role of Modern Matrons in hospitals should also be reviewed and they should be able to do the job like the Matrons of the past, and not just be another management tier. Staff at ground level have the answers on how to improve the NHS, just ask.

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  • I utterly agree. BTW what about abolishing outside catering companies as well? Maybe it is only all wrong in the hospital I work but I guess it is rather the wide nation problem. The quality is far from the average jeopardising patients well being, health and - especially on CCUs - life. We must do something about it before it will go too far.

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  • I agree entirely

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  • I think that the domestic person should be employed& managed by the ward manager.On my ward we have lost an exellent cleaner. why? She felt that she was never a ward team member, She was managed by a facilities dept, so if there were any issues concerning her, patients members of staff it was not delt with at ward level,this made her fell seperated from the ward team. The ward manager should have the final word on how the ward is looked after, from her senior staff to her cleaning staff.

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