Hospital staff told to take rubbish home

A NEW cost-cutting cleaning regime is in place at Ipswich Hospital today despite struggling to meet government targets on fighting infection.As part of a raft of measures administration staff will now have to take their lunchtime leftovers, such as apple cores, home rather than using the bins in their offices.

A NEW cost-cutting cleaning regime is in place at Ipswich Hospital today despite struggling to meet government targets on fighting infection.

As part of a raft of measures administration staff will now have to take their lunchtime leftovers, such as apple cores, home rather than using the bins in their offices.

The move comes after cash-strapped hospital chiefs, battling £17.3million of debt, told workers cleaning will take place on a weekly basis rather than every day.

Bosses have requested staff remove any waste from packed lunches rather than using the waste paper bins provided.

Some members of staff, who are under orders not to speak to the press, said they have been left angry and frustrated by the new economy drive - part of an attempt to save £10m in the 2007/08 financial year.

The news comes after the Star revealed the hospital is now investing £400,000 and cutting visiting times in an attempt to reduce the number of infections such as MRSA, C-difficile and the norovirus (winter vomiting bug).

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A former patient at the hospital said he was “astonished” by the cleaning cuts.

He said: “The administration department is still in the hospital grounds and under the same roof as the patients' wards so if they've already got a problem with hygiene they're making it even worse.

“I think they just see it as another cost cutting exercise that seems to be aimed at staff and they are demoralised enough as it is.”

Ipswich Hospital, which came under fire last month for cutting costs by reorganising medical secretaries, has described the new cleaning regime of the administrative offices at the hospital as just “good house-keeping”.

Jan Rowsell, spokeswoman for the management of the hospital said: “We are looking at reducing the number of infections at the hospital and the frequency that offices are being cleaned.

“So rather than daily they will be cleaned on a weekly basis.

“Unfortunately we have to have priorities and as we have limited funds available we have look at what our biggest problems are and how we can tackle them.

“It's very important that the whole hospital is cleaned but if you're faced with cleaning the wards or the offices you have to make the appropriate choice.

“We have consistently said we need to do more to tackle infection and that's what we're doing, obviously it would be magnificent if we could do both.

“It's just changing the frequency of cleaning. It's not saying that we not going to clean at all.”

The news comes just days after a report produced by the Department of Health revealed that the number of cases of infection at the hospital has not been significantly reduced since last year.

N What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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