Lord Sheikh asked Her Majesty’s Government:
- How many hospitals are being cleaned to the National Health Service specification for cleanliness published in December 2004.
The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): My Lords, every NHS trust must show that it meets the national specifications as part of the Healthcare Commission’s annual health check. Trusts must declare themselves non-compliant if there has been a significant lapse from those standards.
Lord Sheikh: My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for that response. I declare an interest as my company provides specialist insurances to the cleaning industry. We all appreciate that there are problems relating to hospital cleanliness. Does the Minister support the conclusions of the recent Patient Environment Action Team survey, which shows a better performance from contracted-out cleaning services?
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My Lords, the comparison of in-house services and outsourced services has been discussed by noble Lords on a number of occasions. I have not seen any hard evidence to suggest that a decision to outsource services has a direct impact on the quality of cleaning. Ultimately, it depends on the nature of the contract in relation to outsourced services or the nature of management in relation to in-house services. The key factor is leadership. When NHS trusts give a clear indication that cleanliness is a high priority, good services follow from it.