The Expert Group on CPR policy document  (Acute Hospital Carbapenemase Producing Enterobacteriales (CPE) Outbreak Control Checklist, Version 1.0 March 2018) gave emphasis on the importance of environmental cleaning  education and audit in controling the spread of CPE.

Cleanpass is currently the only organisation in Ireland that provides training in environmental and equipment cleaning  encompassing technique and sequence of cleaning for hospital household staff accredited by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI). The training we deliver has been developed in line with the National best practice and evidence based hygiene standards, including the Health Information and Quality Authority’s 2017 – National Standards for the prevention and control of healthcare-associated infections in acute healthcare services.

Cleanliness counts. Ensuring a clean environment is fundamental to the provision of safe and high quality care. Importantly, some aspects of hygiene services support the prevention and control of healthcare infection”  The National Hospital Office identified making hygiene services a priority through leadership. This can only happen through education. Education costs money; but then so does ignorance (Claus Moser). And in the case of HCAI, ignorance costs more. Education is empowerment and empowerment is the flipside of helplessness  (Joss Whedon).

I have worked in this area for over ten years as I am passionate about delivering skills based training in hygiene services driven by infection control awareness.

The Cleanpass concept is designed to mirror the hugely successful Safe Pass safety and awareness training programme in the construction industry which was developed following an initiative by the Construction Industry Training Committee and incorporated into the Construction Safety Partnership Plan which was launched by Minister for Labour, Trade and Consumer Affairs in October 2000.

It is hoped that household staff would receive the Cleanpass training prior to commencing work in healthcare facilities similar to the requirement for construction workers to have “Safe Pass” prior to employment in construction.

It is timely that the Minister for Health has declared CPE as a public health emergency due to the rapid increase in outbreaks in recent years. It is no secret that healthcare environment is the biggest catalyst in the spread of infections like CPE. It has been widely researched and recognised that a coordinated whole system response is required to prevent and control the spread of infections in healthcare settings.

A key priority of a whole system response needs to focus on ensuring all healthcare staff are aware of and accountable to their obligations in preventing and controlling the spread of infections. To do this effectively, National healthcare hygiene standards need to be up to date (current Cleaning Manual – Acute Hospitals does not correlate with current practice) and healthcare staff need to be provided with quality assured education, awareness and skill based training to meet these standards. Addressing this priority would also contribute to the Department meeting its strategic objectives outlined in Ireland’s National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance 2017-2020 (iNAP).

I would be delighted if Cleanpass could assist in developing and delivering a whole system initiative for the education and training of healthcare support staff to National healthcare hygiene standards.

Lisa O Connell

Managing Director