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RCN: 'Better relationships with cleaning staff needed'

Improved relationships between nurses and cleaning staff could improve patient care, a report has claimed. 

The joint report by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and the Association of Healthcare Cleaning Professionals (AHCP) calls for close co-ordination to implement infection prevention and control strategies. 

The report Creating a Safe Environment for Care aims to define the relationship between cleaning and nursing professionals, in order to provide guidance. 

Cleaning and nursing staff are the two main groups of healthcare workers responsible for maintaining a safe and hygienic patient environment, the report claims. 

Creating a Safe Environment for Care reinforces how decontamination of surfaces and equipment is central to minimising the risk of infection caused by C.difficle, Norovirus, and antibiotic resistant organisms.

Rose Gallagher, the RCN's infection control and prevention adviser, said: “This is the first time the relationship between cleaning and nursing staff has been explored. We appreciate the importance of each other's roles but can find it difficult in practice if some barriers are in place, whether these be cultural or organisational. We want health care organisations to read this report and use it at a local level to help improve ways of working and ultimately benefit the patient experience.” 

Simon Sharpe, national chair of the AHCP, said: “The role between cleaning staff and nursing has long been underestimated in the effect on patients' welfare. Every organisation and service lead needs to read this document and use the information to improve and develop closer links which in turn will provide a safer environment for the provision of health care.”

The full report is available to view on the RCN website.