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Published Fri, Mar 11th 2011

Poor Hygiene and Safety Standards Continue in Hospital Kitchens

By Richard Norman - Managing Director, Duct Cleaning Specialist, Indepth Hygiene Limited. Once again I read about hospitals which have been putting patients' lives at risk by failing to ensure even basic food hygiene standards are maintained in their kitchens.

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By Richard Norman - Managing Director, Duct Cleaning Specialist, Indepth Hygiene Limited. Once again I read about hospitals which have been putting patients' lives at risk by failing to ensure even basic food hygiene standards are maintained in their kitchens.

According to a freedom of information report in the Sunday Times three out of four hospitals have breached minimum standards. In all 579 out of 752 kitchens were breaking regulations, of which 273 had not been properly cleaned.

It is clear that overall standards have not improved since the death of 19 patients as a result of poor practices in the kitchens at the Wakefield hospital in 1984.

That incident lead to the Government lifting crown immunity from hospitals, but in spite of the shocking evidence of poor standards I have seen no report of hospitals being prosecuted. This is in sharp contrast to the standards being achieved on another area of the Government - the MOD estate. Indepth Hygiene have been providing specialist hygiene and safety deep cleaning services for mess kitchens for many years.

I know of not one military kitchen which does not have at least one hygiene and safety deep cleaning service each year and singularly, I do not know of any reported cases of the military failing to maintain standards. Why this contrast? Whilst I would not claim deep cleaning solves all problems in kitchens it plays an essential role as part of an overall policy of good hygiene and safety practice.

Could it be a matter of money? The costs of putting good practices in place is nominal and any excuse they are not carried out because of budgetary constraints is unsupportable. With fewer than 200 hospitals being given a clean bill of health there must be concerted action to improve standards.

It's my experience standards only improve where the kitchen operators know they will be prosecuted for compliance failures as they do in the Private Sector. The statement by a spokesman for the representative body for Environmental Health Officers that "Hospitals should not be treated differently from anyone else when it comes to prosecutions", rings very hollow. Only when EHOs exercise their rights to prosecute hospitals for hygiene and safety failures will there be a measurable improvement in standards.

After all, they are the "policemen" for the legislation. Hopefully it will not require another Wakefield Hospital experience to goad hospital management into action.

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  • Kitchen Deep Cleaning Services : Kitchen / Catering Facilities
  • Ventilation System Services

Subscribe to the www.ductwork-cleaning-services.co.uk blog for more information about our kitchen deep cleaning services visit: www.kitchendeepcleaningservices.co.uk.


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