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Hospital staff told to wash their own uniforms to help save £63,000
5:27pm Friday 1st March 2013 in News
A LAUNDRY service for Dudley hospital staff is facing the axe, the News can reveal.
Staff uniforms will no longer be accepted for laundry after March 24, the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust announced this week, to help save around £63,000 a year.
Instead nurses and medics at Russells Hall Hospital, many of whom work long shifts, will have to take them home and wash them themselves.
Hospital chiefs say the decision, which is part of a raft of measures to help save a total of £15million in 2013-14, "only affects staff uniforms and does not include patient clothes, scrubs or neonatal baby clothes".
The Trusts's uniform policy, based on evidence from reviews, testing and hand hygiene procedures, states washing work wear for ten minutes at 60ºC will remove "almost all micro-organisms" and even a wash with detergent at 30ºC "eliminates MRSA and most other micro-organisms"
But it urges staff to remember to wash uniforms separately from other clothes to eliminate "possible cross-contamination from high levels of soiling" and to make sure they dry uniforms quickly and iron them straight away.
It also warns: "Dirty or under-performing machines may lead to contamination of clothing, although there is no published evidence that this presents an infection risk."
Trust chief executive Paula Clark said annual payments to the Trust's PFI partner Summit Healthcare (Dudley) Ltd previously included provision of a staff uniform laundry service but the decision was taken to scrap it from April 1 as part of efforts to make savings from non-clinical services.
She said: "This brings The Dudley Group in line with many other NHS trusts."
And she added: "Providing the best possible care for patients remains the highest priority at The Dudley Group.
“Any decisions to reduce services or facilities that we provide are very difficult to make but, as our commitment to providing the highest standard of care for patients remains our highest priority, we feel it is better to make savings from non clinical services."