Standard for providing a clean and safe hospital environment is revised

4 December 2014

BSI, the business standards company has revised PAS 5748 Specification for the planning, application and measurement of cleanliness services in hospitals. Sponsored by the Department of Health, the specification was first published in 2011 as a means of helping acute, community and mental health hospitals in England demonstrate that plans were in place to keep their premises clean and safe for patients.

Keeping the hospital environment clean is a key factor in delivering effective infection prevention and control arrangements as well as improving patient wellbeing. Stringent cleanliness protocols provide the foundation for a continued reduction of healthcare associated infections such as MRSA. 

This specification provides a framework for a risk-based cleaning system and takes a continuous improvement approach to hygiene. It provides for the planning, application, measurement and review of cleanliness services in hospitals. The aim is to help key staff such as chief executives, directors of infection prevention and control, directors of nursing, lead nurses or matrons ensure that patient safety is a priority within the NHS in England.

Some of the things that PAS 5748 covers: 

  • Governance of cleanliness service
  • Assessment of the risk of a lack of cleanliness (for infection and damage to patient, public or staff confidence)
  • Providing cleaning tasks
  • Measuring cleanliness on the basis of visual inspection
  • Implementing corrective action
  • Conducting performance analysis and implementing improvement actions

Anne Hayes, Head of Market Development for Governance & Risk at BSI said: “The hospital environment is one which many of us will experience at some point in our lives. Having peace of mind and trust in the facility in question, is a very important consideration for all who enter hospital. This specification can support care providers in giving patients confidence that the hospital environment is clean. The current revision remains relevant to today’s healthcare environment and PAS 5748 is commended to anybody who is directly or indirectly responsible for providing a clean, safe environment for patient care.”

Some of the organizations involved in the collaborative revision of PAS 5748 include: Association of Healthcare Cleaning Professionals, British Infection Association, Department of Health, Healthcare Infection Society, Infection Prevention Society, NHS England, The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust and Royal College of Nursing amongst others.

PAS 5748 builds on the experience and content of The national specifications for cleanliness in the NHS (NSC)*, the most recent version of which was published by the National Patient Safety Agency in April 2007. It does not replace this but will exist alongside it to provide an alternative means of demonstrating an intent to comply with part of the registration requirements of the Care Quality Commission (CQC). PAS 5748 is expected to be used in conjunction with The Revised Healthcare Cleaning Manual**), which gives general and specific guidance on how to operate the provision of cleaning services within a healthcare environment. 

What PAS 5748 includes:

  • An update to the risk assessment clause (Clause 4) to include supportive material based on work carried out since the 2011 publication
  • This work is represented as a completed risk assessment of all 50 scored elements (Annex C) as well as a range of typical functional areas likely to be found at all hospitals (Annex D)
  • An example of overall risk category outcomes using the completed risk assessment of elements and functional areas is provided at Annex E 

PAS 5748 will be free to download for NHS staff in England at the following link: http://shop.bsigroup.com/pas-5748.

Notes to editors

* The national specifications for cleanliness in the NHS: http://www.nrls.npsa.nhs.uk/resources/?EntryId45=59818

** The Revised Healthcare Cleaning Manual: http://www.nrls.npsa.nhs.uk/EasySiteWeb/getresource.axd?AssetID=61814