Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 5°C

Search

Ipswich: Hospital launches cleaning investigation after mouldy bottles found

10:41 14 November 2012

STAR NEWS


Ipswich hospital

STAR NEWS Ipswich hospital's new visiting hours take effect today. Parking, however, seem unaffected. Pix Phil Morley 4/6/07 GV / Exterior / sign / Hospital

Archant

IPSWICH: An investigation is today under way at Ipswich Hospital after mouldy cleaning bottles were discovered – sparking fears the substance inside could put patients at risk.

shares

Gummer blasts cleaning firm chiefs

On my regular visits to the hospital, in my surgery and talking to people on the doorstep, I have heard time and again of the poor treatment of your staff by your company, of your harsh working practices and of your failure to provide the right equipment for them to do their job.

I have had several reports from ISS employees about how their wages are docked for small errors, such as arriving at work a minute late or leaving 30 seconds early.

I have also heard complaints about the equipment the staff have to use. They say that the disinfectant is gradually decreasing in strength and the staff are forced to use mouldy spray bottles.

The cleaners, catering staff and other staff at the hospital, employed by you, are some of the most dedicated people at the hospital. They work unsocial hours, often doing thankless tasks, for very little money. They are at the frontline of keeping the hospital clean, free of infection and operating smoothly. The very least that they should expect is to be given the tools to do their jobs, to be motivated, and to be treated with dignity and respect – not as automatons without feelings or interest in their work.

I am sorry to write in so strong a manner to you but my concern about the practices of ISS is so great that it is all I feel I can do. I will be releasing this letter to the local press.

Ben Gummer, Ipswich MP

Senior managers at the Heath Road trust took immediate action when the bottles were handed to them by cleaning staff working for ISS, who took over the multi-million pound cleaning contract at the hospital in October 2010.

Tests are ongoing but Jan Ingle, hospital spokeswoman, said at this stage the substance is not thought to be harmful to patients.

One whistleblower told The Star he and colleagues first found the bottles in May.

He said he raised concerns with his supervisors, questioning whether the cleaning fluids inside the bottles were strong enough to properly clean the hospital if they were allowing bacteria to grow inside the plastic.

ISS response to Gummer’s letter

A spokesman said: “We have received Mr Gummer’s letter and will respond directly once we have investigated the claims made in it.

ISS has a strong culture of looking after its people and treating them with respect. We operate an “open door” policy to whistle blowing and a comprehensive staff survey, again anonymous, that allows all our employees to provide us feedback on their experience of working for ISS. We are unaware of any mismanagement at Ipswich Hospital.

“We fully agree with Mr Gummer that our staff providing services such as cleaning, portering and patient catering are some of the most dedicated at the hospital, and indeed within the NHS as a whole. Without their hard work and commitment, the hospital would be unable to function.

“With the hospital, we monitor the services closely and we are confident that the levels of cleanliness are meeting those required by the national standards defined by the NHS.”

“We were worried that patients could be at risk,” he said.

It comes as Ipswich MP Ben Gummer blasts ISS bosses in an open letter for their management of staff and highlights the concerns members of staff have raised with him that equipment is not up to standard.

The letter states: “I have heard time and again of the poor treatment of your staff by your company, of your harsh working practices and of your failure to provide the right equipment for them to do their job.”

Trust spokeswoman Mrs Ingle said the safety of patients is “our top priority” and added that the trust takes “any concerns about cleaning and cleanliness very seriously”.

“We took action straight away and investigated the concerns raised by a very small number of staff in one specific area of the hospital about spray cleaning bottles found with mould growing inside them,” she said.

“This action included thorough testing of the bottles to determine whether the substances in the bottles were harmful. The tests are ongoing and at this stage it is not thought the substances to be harmful to patient safety.

“The contract we have with ISS, the company who provide cleaning, catering, portering and security services at the hospital, sets out clear standards for each service.

“Cleaning and cleanliness are monitored throughout the hospital several times a day to ensure the standards are being met.”

An ISS spokesman added: “We take our role at the hospital very seriously and are totally committed to ensuring a safe, clean environment for patients, visitors and healthcare professionals alike.

“Ongoing auditing has shown that we continue to meet all cleaning standards as defined in the national specifications for cleanliness set by the NHS.

“We are aware of these specific claims and are working closely with the Trust. We continuously monitor both equipment and cleaning chemicals and know that there have not been any shortages or risk to patient care on the site.”

n What do you think about the cleanliness of the hospital? Write to health reporter Lizzie Parry at Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail lizzie.parry@archant.co.uk

Related articles

shares

0 comments

Two fire crews have tackled a blaze involving a container full of rubbish.

Two fire crews have tackled a blaze in a shipping container at a site in Henley Road, Ipswich.

Benefit cheat in court

An Ipswich benefit cheat has been spared prison after she fiddled more than £15,000 in false claims over 29 months.

Dancers preparing for Inspire Suffolk's Strictly event.

Inspire Suffolk has teamed up with Ipswich School of Dancing to train 10 local amateur dancers in preparation for a Strictly Come Dancing-style fundraising event in July.

Drink-drivers in court

A two-time drink-driver who crashed into the rear of another car while more than twice the limit has lost his licence.

A BMW X1

Hundreds of thousands of pounds were spent on luxury cars for managers by the East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST) in the past year, it has emerged.

Gemma Grace, from Ipswich, speaks about living with autism.

Autism is not an illness, it is just a different way of seeing the world.

South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court

A nuisance neighbour who even kept ducks in her house has been given 14 days to get out of her east Ipswich home by the town’s magistrates.

The scene of a fight at Barclays Bank in Ipswich - photos Jess Portway

Frightened staff and customers at an Ipswich town centre bank locked themselves in offices during a violent brawl between two groups of men from rival Romanian families, a court has heard.

The Mendlesham Street Fair in full swing.

Fun, laughter and a sense of community were the order of the day at the annual Mendlesham Community Council Street Fayre.

Two teenagers have been arrested following the death of a 14 year old boy after an incident at an address in Thurston.

Friends of a 13-year-old schoolboy from Thurston who died after being shot with an air rifle have paid tribute.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24