Nurses forced to clean as hospitals cut costs

A trust struggling to meet the Government’s efficiency savings targets is being forced to do without full time cleaners as hospital bosses continue to cut costs, a new report claims.

Nurses at Mid Yorkshire Hospital Trust are being forced to clean and tidy dirty working environments as it struggles to meet the £20bn Nicholson Challenge and the QIPP agenda.

The report by a former inspector at the Department of Health said the nurses being forced to clean impacts patient care and is something that requires “urgent attention”.

The investigation by Brian Duerden, a former inspector of microbiology and infection control at the DH, found that nurses were mopping and cleaning beds despite not being trained to do so.

The Trust was forced to reduce the hours of professional cleaners earlier this year to just two days per week in measures to control finances. The cash-strapped trust is seeking to save £24m in the next financial year to meet Government targets.

A spokesperson for Mid Yorkshire Hospital Trust insisted the practice of nurses cleaning up wards was not reserved to the hospitals it controls. She said that the need for nurses to clean certain wards was not due to cost-cutting practices but to meet levels of high demand.

NHS Chief Executive Sir David Nicholson recently said the health service had enjoyed a “remarkable year” after it made £5.8bn in savings through the QIPP agenda.

However, those comments were in contrast to Jim Easton from the NHS Commissioning Board who insisted that cuts should not represent QIPP savings.