Specification for Hospital cleanliness now available

Press release - 15 June 2011

Work on a new specification for the planning, application and measurement of cleanliness services in acute, community and mental health hospitals in England is now complete. Development of the specification, to be known as PAS 5748, has been sponsored by the Department of Health and the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA). The Publicly Available Specification (PAS) will assist in the provision of hospital cleanliness in support of infection prevention and control and improved patient, public and staff confidence.

PAS 5748 specifies requirements for:

  • Governance of cleanliness services
  • Assessing the risk of a lack of cleanliness both for infection and damage to patient, public or staff confidence
  • Providing cleaning tasks
  • Measuring cleanliness on the basis of visual inspection – including setting agreed performance levels
  • Taking corrective action
  • Conducting performance analysis and implementing improvement actions
  • Providing a continuous service improvement plan
  • Reporting cleanliness outcomes

PAS 5748 can be purchased by independent healthcare providers from BSI and for NHS organizations in England an electronic download is available free of charge. The PAS is intended to be endorsed at Board level and implemented by key Directors whose responsibilities include the provision of a clean, safe environment for care. It will also be of interest to those bodies responsible for commissioning hospital services.

The specification has been developed for use within acute, community and mental health hospitals across the NHS in England, although in such a way as to permit wider application in any future editions. A decision to further develop PAS 5748 into a British Standard would require input from, and the unanimous agreement of, public and independent healthcare providers across the UK.

Adoption of PAS 5748 is a matter for individual hospital trusts. It will exist alongside the NPSA’s current national specification for cleanliness. As such, it will provide an additional means of demonstrating that the proper policies and procedures are in place to support the provision of clean, safe care.

The Department of Health’s Chief Nursing Officer, Dame Christine Beasley said “Patients and the public have made it very clear that they want to see clean hospitals. The NHS has made great strides in improving cleanliness and reducing the incidence of avoidable infection. This will provide an opportunity to drive further progress in these areas and we are delighted to have worked with partners to complete this work.”

National Patient Safety Agency Director of Patient Safety, Suzette Woodward said “We are very pleased to have shared the sponsorship for this new specification. BSI's robust and well- established development process has produced a consensus based document that will support all those responsible for healthcare cleanliness”.

Mr Mike Low, Director of Standards, BSI said, “Managing the planning, application and measurement of cleanliness services in hospitals presents NHS management with a common set of challenges. PAS 5748 is written by the people whose job it is to face and overcome these challenges on a daily basis. By adopting this standard, NHS Trusts will be able to clearly demonstrate they have the right policies and procedures in place to support the provision of a clean, safe environment for patient care.”