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Published on 29 October 2007

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Monitoring shortfall makes HAIs plan “a sham”

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The UK Government’s “deep-clean” initiative to fight hospital-acquired infections is a “sham” because its effectiveness will not be monitored centrally, according to the opposition Conservative Party.

The Conservatives reacted after junior health minister Ann Keen admitted in a written reply to the House of Commons that ministers had “no plans to centrally monitor the deep cleaning of hospitals”.

She said: “Arrangements for the programme are entirely a matter for local determination in discussions between trusts and their strategic health authority which will be allocating funding. There are also no plans to assess the effectiveness of deep cleaning.”

Last month Prime Minister Gordon Brown pledged that every hospital in the country would undergo a ward-by-ward deep clean in a bid to combat pathogens such as MRSA.

Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley said: “People working in the NHS knew this deep clean was just a Brown gimmick.

“The Government have been forced to admit that they had no evidence to demonstrate how it should be applied, they have no plans for how it should be implemented, they don’t know how much it will cost, and they have no plans to find out whether or not it works.”

Defending the scheme, Health Secretary Alan Johnson said: “In common with all other measures in our hospitals, we will administer and monitor the deep clean programme through the strategic health authorities in 10 areas across England.”

He added: “We will continue to monitor hospital cleanliness and infection rates regularly, and we expect continued improvements as a result of the deep cleans and the many other measures we are taking.”

Copyright © PA Business 2007

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