There comes a time when all of us will rely on a healthcare establishment.

Whether we’re having our appendix removed in hospital or a tooth treated at a dental surgery, we expect to have our issue taken care of then leave feeling better than when we went in.

Thanks to slovenly healthcare cleaning and the rise of Healthcare Associated Infections (HCAI), however, this expectation is slowly dissipating.

Open a newspaper on any given day and the headlines are unequivocal in their damnation of the hygiene horrors emanating from the nation’s healthcare establishments.

While it’s easy to sit detached from reality in the safety of your living room, such a scenario can be a living nightmare for those suffering through a HCAI.

Indeed, with HCAIs claiming the lives of around 5,000 patients every year and costing the NHS £1bn over the same period, it’s hardly a secret that something has to give.

With winter not far away, one of the most common outbreaks is the norovirus which affects up to one million folk each year across the UK – and these outbreaks typically originate in healthcare facilities.

Quite simply, without adequate cleaning, healthcare establishments have the potential to be overrun with nasty contagions hell bent on putting patients’ lives in danger.

Bringing In the Experts

Importantly, while not all infections can be guarded against effectively, many can be.

The government has made it quite clear that all NHS facilities should be adopting a zero tolerance approach to preventable HCAIs, which is why healthcare cleaning from the specialists is required.

Indeed, the Health Act 2006 code of practice places responsibility on NHS trusts to make sure the local provision of healthcare cleaning services is adequately resourced.

It also means each healthcare establishment should have a strategy in place for cleaning, with schedules and routines adhered to in an effort to protect patients.

Not only that, but if there are no provisions in place to maintain a safe and hygienic environment, this can have a knock-on effect on the number of beds available in hospitals, for example.

Put simply, in order to keep the country’s most vulnerable free from infection, every healthcare institution should be aiming to reduce the risks and prevent the spread of disease.

Whether the figures for norovirus and other HCAIs will fall this winter remains to be seen – but it’s clear every establishment has no excuse for not being prepared to deal with the very real risks.

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