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One extra cleaner per ward means fewer patients with MRSA and cash savings for hospitals

A recent British academic study found that lives and millions of pounds would be saved if hospitals took on just one extra cleaner per ward.

The study, sponsored by the public sector union UNISON,  found that an extra cleaner had a measurable effect on the clinical environment, cutting the number of patients who contracted MRSA and saving an estimated £30,000 to £70,000 per hospital (that's about $48,000 to $112,000 at current exchange rates).

Microbiologist Dr Stephanie Dancer carried out in-depth research into MRSA and cleaning at the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow.

The findings revealed that enhanced cleaning led to a 32.5% reduction in microbial contamination at hand-touch sites, while cases of MRSA fell in the six months of targeted cleaning on one of the wards. They rose again when the extra cleaner moved to another ward, which in turn saw the number of cases fall. Dr. Dancer’s study was published in BMC Medicine.

The Ontario government might want to look into this, rather than continue their policy of cutting hospital support staff.  Given that in Ontario, C. Difficile is also skipping through our hospitals, the improvements might even be more significant. 

The study, published in the journal BMC Medicine, can be found here, and the UNISON release, here.


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