"Cleaning in the hospital"

About: St George Hospital

(as the patient),

I have just spent a number of days in St. George Hospital Kogarah, in Ward 7B of the new wing. I am a supervisor of cleaning. I could not believe my eyes watching the cleaning staff of the hospital. First of all I shared a 2 bed room. Dirty towels and dirty hospital gowns were left on the bathroom floor for 3 days, before they were even picked up and that was after I complained that it was becoming a OHS issue. The next was watching the cleaners clean. In my opinion, what an absolute disgrace. From what I saw, the cleaners had the same cloth, that wiped down the sink in the ward, the same cloth wiped the toilet inside and out as well as the toilet seat, rim & lid, then she wiped the sink and vanity unit with the same cloth, as well as the hand rails in the bathroom. I believe at no time was the cloth washed out or rinsed. Then the cleaner proceeded to the next room with the same cloth. Cross contamination!  Then the cleaner proceeded to mop the toilet floor with a mop and the same mop she also used to mop the floors around the hospital beds. This was the same every morning. In a hospital - I believe this is cross contamination. I believe this is spreading disease! I think they seriously need to look at their cleaners!


Response from Leisa Rathborne, General Manager, St George Hospital nearly 2 years ago
Leisa Rathborne
General Manager,
St George Hospital
Submitted on 23/08/2018 at 14:10
Published on Care Opinion at 15:34

picture of Leisa Rathborne

Dear sweeper

I thank you for your feedback. Please be assured that we take matters relating to cleanliness and infection control very seriously in our Hospital. There are strict guidelines to ensure that we maintain the highest standards of cleaning.

Firstly, your concerns about dirty towels and hospital gowns being left on the floor has been escalated to the nursing unit manager of the ward. This issue will be addressed at the ward daily safety huddle and also raised at the next ward meeting.

In relation to your observations concerning cleaning staff, they are employed by ISS Services who are contracted to provide cleaning services in NSW Health facilities and are bound by the same guidelines as NSW Health Staff.

I can advise that ISS have implemented and use a full microfiber cleaning system which allows for a more thorough and efficient clean, whilst mitigating circumstances at which a cloth or mop may be used over multiple surfaces and rooms within patient environments.

The system employs a method of clean and dry cloths and mops loaded into the specifically designed trolley system and then pre-soaked/prepared with ph. Neutral detergent for the cleaning tasks of the scheduled day. The cloths themselves are folded in a way than can then be used over eight different surfaces with a clean face being used each time. In a two bedded patient environment this would mean that the cloth could be used for each of the patient bed bays and a new cloth being used for a new room. The mops are similar with one blue mop being used for the room floor per patient room and a red mop being used for each patient bathroom. A patient bathroom is cleaned by using the same method but being a different colour.

The colour coding used is set out as recommended in the cleaning policy and is as follows:

Blue – Patient rooms and general surfaces areas

Red – Patient and general bathrooms

Yellow – Infectious cleans

Green – Kitchenettes, Kitchens and areas where food may be prepared

What cleaning staff don’t do is use techniques that require the rinsing of mops and cloths or using open buckets with solution as this method leads to surfaces being left far too wet which poses a potential Work Health Safety risk such as slips, trips and falls and bacteria and dirt being spread from one patient area/surface to another. Once a cloth or mop comes into contact with moisture bacteria cultures increase on the surfaces of the cloths and mops over time, meaning that the longer the cloth or mop is used the greater the risk of spreading bacteria.

The microfiber system introduces multiple cloths and mops during the cleaning cycle to mitigate this very risk. The microfiber cleaning system has been endorsed by the NSW Agency of Clinical Innovation for some time now and is recommended to healthcare facilities as the cleaning method of choice for environmental impact and hygiene.

I do hope that my response addresses your concerns in a manner consistent with their seriousness.

If you require further information, or have any further concerns, please contact our Patient Experience Manager, Mr Anthony Marsh on 9113 2687 or Anthony.Marsh@health.nsw.gov.au

Yours faithfully,


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