Annual Review 2015
A good supply of clean, well presented linen remains an important factor in patient care.
Safely Reducing Costs, improving efficiency whilst improving patient care is one of the main objectives of the NHS. Costs and quality are not restricted to a laundry supply being delivered, as many Trusts have contracted out the laundry function knowledge of effective and safe distribution systems and linen storage is being lost, this may result in an increased linen management costs and the risk of linen being contaminated during storage. Over the last year there have been a couple of reports from overseas of the link between an infection outbreak and poor linen storage, at the present time the evidence is unclear but the Society will continue to monitor reports and circulate this amongst members. There is a need for all Trusts to understand that there are elements, relating to the storage and distribution of linen, within the CFPP 01-04 guidance which still apply when laundry processing is contracted out.
The new National Framework for Laundry and Linen Services is currently being awarded; this is likely to result in a number of mini completions over the next year, potentially leading to changes in contractors.
The Review of Operational Productivity in NHS Providers by Lord Carter of Coles, DOH,2015, has compared the efficiencies of 22 Trust including Linen Services, it is stated that £4million could potentially be saved if the cohort studied moved to the average efficiency of their NHS peers.
The introduction of the National Living Wage in April 2016 will not affect NHS run Laundries who currently pay NHS Agenda for Change rates, the feeling is that it will help even out staffing cost between the sectors. The challenge may be to have and retain a well-trained, motivated and effective workforce against the competition of better paid, and some would say easier, jobs elsewhere.
Within the NHS there is increasing movement towards New Care Models and Trusts working together and for the centralisation of specialist medical services, there is also increasing care in the community, pressures on beds in care homes and an increasingly elderly population, this all leads to changes in where patients are cared for and where linen is used.
For laundry providers linen loss and abuse remains a big issue, this can be challenged by working with nursing colleagues to address any practices which leads to reducing linen availability and costs for the provider.
During 2015 the Society held a successful training event in April; the papers were challenging and thought provoking. The task is to attract delegates and suppliers to this unique event despite pressures on time and finances. The 2016 Training Forum and Exhibition return to Stratford Manor, Stratford-upon-Avon on the 20th – 21st April 2016, information is available from www.linenmanager.co.uk