NSW hospitals at risk of infection

The NSW opposition is warning of an infections outbreak following reports of a drastic drop in the number of cleaners at some of NSW’s busiest hospitals.


Opposition health spokesman Andrew McDonald cited a recent report which found Royal North Shore Hospital was down 67 full time cleaners compared to numbers in 2010.

During the same period Westmead Hospital lost 20 full time cleaners while the Nepean Hospital was down 25.

Across the greater Sydney region there has been an overall loss of 139 full time cleaners, Dr McDonald said.

“Slashing the number of cleaners in our hospitals is a huge infection risk and highly dangerous,” he said.

The average hospital cleaner cleaned a minimum of 35 beds per week or 1820 beds per year, while unclean beds, wards and operating theatres could lead to serious and deadly infections, he said.

“Golden Staph and Vancomycin Resistant Enterococci (VRE) still kill people in NSW hospitals in 2013,” he warned.

“Cutting the number of cleaners also means vacant beds are left empty for hours until they can be cleaned, while more patients sit waiting to be admitted in the emergency department.”

Mr McDonald blamed the staff reductions on the O’Farrell government’s $3 billion cut to health funding.

“A huge reduction in cleaners and the number of cleaning hours in our hospital is what happens when you cut $3 billion from the health system.”

Comment is being sought from the government.

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