Six hundred new cleaners to fight hospital superbugs
HEALTH Secretary Nicola Sturgeon will announce the creation of 600 new hospital cleaning jobs today in a bid to beat the scourge of hospital acquired infections.
Ms Sturgeon will use her keynote speech to the SNP's Spring conference in Glasgow to pledge 5.4 million of new money every year to recruit the cleaners.
She will tell activists that the move will provide a double boost, helping hospitals fight infection and providing new jobs at a time of economic crisis.
The Health Secretary has been looking for new ways to fight hospital acquired infections since the outbreak of C difficile in the Vale of Leven Hospital last year which is thought to have killed at least 18 people.
The Scottish Government announced a raft of measures in the wake of that outbreak, backed by 54 million in funding, including a national MRSA screening programme and a C difficile reference lab for Scotland to speed up diagnosis.
But today Ms Sturgeon will say she wants to go further.
"Nothing is more important to me personally than driving down the rates of infection in our hospitals," she is due to say.
"Hospital infections cause pain, distress and suffering for patients and their families. And they undermine confidence in our NHS. That is why beating them is a battle I am determined to win.
"Hospital cleanliness is of the utmost importance. Patients have a right to expect the highest standards and let me be clear that, on their behalf, I will not accept anything less. That is why I have set up a new inspectorate, headed by a chief inspector, to police standards in our hospitals.
"And it is why I told you at our last conference that I was banning any further privatisation of hospital cleaning contracts.
"But I intend to go even further. I can announce today that we will make the resources available to employ an extra 600 cleaners across the NHS in Scotland.
"And the people of Scotland can rest assured that these will be cleaners working in the NHS, for the NHS, and employed by the NHS. There will be no Labour privatisation of cleaning services by this SNP government."
She is expected to add: "This investment is good for the NHS and good for patients. It will improve even further the standards of hygiene and cleanliness in our hospitals. But it will do more than that. At a time of rising unemployment, it will also provide jobs for 600 people and that has got to be good news."
The money will be allocated on a board-by-board basis around Scotland with the greatest number of cleaners, 141, being created in Greater Glasgow, and the fewest in Orkney, Shetland, the State Hospital at Carstairs and at the National Waiting Times Centre.
Ms Sturgeon will address the SNP Spring conference today, after the memorial service in Edinburgh for the late Professor Sir Neil MacCormick, the former SNP MEP, who died earlier this month.
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Thursday 20 June 2013
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