BSI to develop specification for hospital cleanliness


26 November 2009

A new specification for cleanliness in healthcare facilities is in development by the Department of Health, National Patient Safety Agency and BSI, the global standards, certification and assessment provider. The specification, expected to be published in March 2010, will assist in the provision of cleanliness in support of infection prevention and improved patient, public and staff confidence.

PAS 5748 (Publicly Available Specification), will specify requirements for the provision of cleanliness in acute, community and mental health hospitals. The aim is that it will include requirements for the:

  • definition and assignation of cleanliness responsibilities and accountabilities;
  • risk assessment and categorization of functional areas and elements within hospitals;
  • identification and implementation of cleaning tasks needed to achieve a specified definition of clean for different elements within hospitals;
  • and the measurement, reporting and improvement of cleanliness. 

PAS 5748 is intended to be endorsed at board level, and implemented by those employed to maintain cleanliness in hospitals including dedicated cleaning staff, nursing and departmental staff and facilities management staff.

It is initially intended to be used within acute, community and mental health hospitals across the NHS in England though it will be developed, through open consultation, in such a way as to permit wider application in future editions. Any decision to further develop the PAS into a British Standard will require input from public and independent healthcare providers across the UK.

Health Minister, Ann Keen said: "The delivery of clean, safe, care is a priority for this Government. The NHS has made great strides in improving cleanliness in hospitals, which is important for both patients and staff. This specification will drive further progress in this area and so we are delighted to be working with our partners and stakeholders in developing it".

Dr Kevin Cleary, Medical Director at the National Patient Safety Agency, said: “We are very pleased to be working on the development of a new standard in cleanliness which is applicable to providers of NHS care in England to ensure that patient safety is right at the heart of hospital care. The standard provides a framework for a risk-based and continual improvement approach to cleanliness, within which providers of NHS care will make localized decisions to ensure exemplary patient safety.” 

Mike Low, Director, Standards, BSI, said: “BSI is delighted to be able to bring its experience of developing standards in the field of healthcare and risk management to bear on this important new standard for healthcare cleanliness. BSI’s robust and well-established standards-making process, the assembled expert Steering Group and public consultation period will ensure the development of a consensus driven document which those responsible for healthcare cleanliness can implement on the ward.” 

The development of PAS 5748 includes a six week open consultation, starting on 18 December. Register your interest in the consultation at the BSI Shop.

Notes to Editors

PAS 5748 Steering Group members include:
Association of Healthcare Cleaning Professionals
British Institute of Cleaning Science
Department of Health – Patient Environment
Department of Health – Improvement Team for Infection Prevention and Control
Infection Prevention Society
Health Estates and Facilities Management Association
NHS National Patient Safety Agency

A Publicly Available Specification (PAS) is a sponsored fast-track standard driven by the needs of the client organization/s and developed according to guidelines set out by BSI. Key stakeholders are brought together to collaboratively produce a BSI-endorsed PAS that has all the functionality of a British Standard for the purposes of creating management systems, product benchmarks and codes of practice. After two years the PAS is reviewed and a decision is made as to whether it should be taken forward to become a formal British Standard.