Cleaning in the Health Sector

The cleaning industry is notoriously competitive. To remain within the game, the need for service providers to become more innovative has increased, creating a culture that is intrinsically raising standards of hygiene, satisfaction and value for money for the healthcare sector. The provision of effective cleaning is a critical success factor in the operation of a successful and safe healthcare facility, but so is the ability to operate within much tighter budget constraints. Professional cleaning providers have had to develop their offerings to be able to deliver on all fronts and be able to evidence not just what looks clean but also protect against the penalties associated with failing to reach the required standards. As hospitals nationwide focus on reducing infection and operating costs, budgets are being squeezed and this is forcing cleaning providers to think out of the box in the delivery of their services and to find ways to maintain quality whilst keeping costs under control. The growing emphasis on measurement, training, standards, tools and systems has compelled a heightened level of professionalism in the cleaning industry, driving cleaning providers to re-assess their methods and techniques. Given the physical size of most healthcare settings, and the fact that many operate on a 24-7 basis, greater emphasis on cleaning innovation and service quality is now being made in order to keep quality high yet reduce the costs linked with labour intensive processes. The identification and implementation of “innovation” has become a real focal point for facilities providers and is often deeply linked to their strategic planning process. The implementation of innovation (a new way of doing things) can be tough when it comes to large, established institutions and often one of the biggest challenges is changing of minds and hearts of people who are comfortable with traditional ways of working. Proving that a more innovative approach supports continual improvement as well as hitting budget and regulatory objectives is key and in many cases a series of small changes can yield huge results. Recent market research commissioned by Interserve and Sheffield Hallam University suggests a shift from a pure cost and service level focus has occurred, with 90 per cent of respondents requesting that new ideas be offered by their suppliers during the preparation and management of outsourced contracts. Devising new processes to best utilise product and man-power is now key to business growth in the cleaning sector. Winning and maintaining contracts requires more than just offering “as is” cleaning services and providers are now required to adapt services to match not just the immediate needs, but to the potential wants of a client. Forward thinking service providers understand the need to suggest and implement new working practices and the identification of new and safe products that work in the real world. More readily associated with the implementation of new technology or the development of new products, innovation is a more fluid and unrestricted practice than is currently realised and is something that can be applied to all areas within an organisation. As we know, meeting the challenge of infection prevention in the healthcare sector requires more than just employing good in-house cleaners or outsourcing a reputable cleaning service provider. Through the application of innovation when it comes to workforce training and partnership working, the knowledge and empowerment of front-line professionals could be greatly enhanced, marking further growth for the sector as a whole. Cleaning for healthcare is an immense and complex undertaking and the squeezing of budgets has unintentionality kick-started a new age for the cleaning sector. Forcing cleaning providers to operate in a leaner more flexible way, organisations have to re-think the way that things are done and work out how to make processes faster, better, more efficient than they ever have been before. Shaking us all out of our comfort zones, businesses providing a cleaning service can now break free from the mould. Incorporating business techniques and tactics that may never have featured in the running of a cleaning service before, it is clear that the time for all encompassing innovation and fresh thinking is most certainly now.

Find out more about Arrow County Supplies by viewing their company profile, here.

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