June 30, 2008

NHS Deep-Clean Strategy Labelled ‘Political Stunt’

THE Government's flagship deep clean programme was yesterday dismissed as a "political stunt" amid claims hospitals were not using products recommended by health watchdogs.

The Tories said "worrying" figures showed only a small minority of NHS trusts in England were using all the cleaning products recommended by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) to fight bugs like MRSA and Clostridium difficile.

Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley accused Gordon Brown of grandstanding and only being concerned with headlines while "letting patients down".

But the Department for Health insisted that deep cleaning was just part of a "comprehensive strategy" to improve cleanliness and tackle infection across hospitals. The Tory argument was based on "fundamental misunderstandings".

But Mr Lansley said: "These figures expose Gordon Brown's deep clean as nothing more than a political stunt.

"If he'd really cared about reducing infections he would have made sure it was carried out properly and the right products were used. Sadly, all he cared about was grabbing a good headline.

"Clostridium difficile rates have soared under Labour and yet they've failed time and again, to back the evidence-based strategies for zero tolerance of infections.

"Gordon Brown and Alan Johnson should be ashamed of their grandstanding, and for letting patients down."

A Department of Health spokesman said: "We have always been clear that deep cleaning was just one part of our comprehensive strategy to improve cleanliness, patient experience and tackle infection. This strategy is working."

(c) 2008 The Journal - Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.