In this case study, OCS explains how they strive for clinical excellence in healthcare environments, and controls the spread of infection.

Outsourced service providers who specialise in cleaning will rarely meet a more difficult challenge than those found in healthcare environments. The cleanliness of these facilities is quite literally a matter of life and death and the damage that poor practice brings can be irreparable.

With that said, there are examples of good practice where organisations are helping to raise standards and provide facilities that increase patient comfort and satisfaction – the ultimate end goal of any facilities management company operating within the healthcare environment.

One of those facilities is Liverpool Women’s Hospital where, following a robust tender process last year, OCS retained the contract to deliver a range of soft services that includes cleaning, catering, security, reception and help desk, and portering for a further five years.


Liverpool Women’s Hospital The Liverpool Women’s NHS Trust was established in 1992, bringing together three neighbouring facilities. In 1995, the Trust moved into a purpose-built £30m site on Crown Street in Toxteth, where it has remained ever since.

The hospital is a major obstetrics, gynaecology, and neonatology research hospital, forming one of a number of specialist hospitals located within the city of Liverpool, alongside Alder Hey Children’s Hospital (where OCS also works), Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital, the Walton Centre, Mersey Regional Burns and Plastic Surgery Unit, and Clatterbridge Cancer Centre. Treating some 30,000 patients from Liverpool and the surrounding area, it’s the largest women’s hospital of its kind in Europe and has been host to the hit Channel 4 series One Born Every Minute.


Clinical excellence, fighting infection Working in the public sector means auditing is often not far from the top of the agenda. For an outsourced provider that works within the NHS, this is of particular importance, not only to ensure the contract is kept on track (and hopefully renewed) but also to maintain public faith in the quality of the provision that the company provides. In order to meet these demands, OCS meets regularly with all its healthcare clients to review and appraise activity and target any areas for improvement.

Yvonne Taylor, Head of Cleaning UK, Ireland and Middle East at OCS, believes these efforts, in addition to its own innovations, ensure that service remains at a high standard and reduces the likelihood of oversights. She said: “OCS is a strong believer in joint monitoring and conducts regular meetings with all its healthcare clients to review and appraise activity. At Liverpool Women’s, quality monitoring is completed in line with 2007 NHS standards, which clearly detail the frequencies for cleaning in each hospital area. The company complements this standard with its own live data and helpdesk services, using these to categorise tasks in terms of importance and check response times. The client has complete access to this system to ensure that its own priorities align with ours.”

Even with joined-up processes and auditing, however, the cleaning challenge remains considerable on a site that is so large and important to the local community. The stakes are always high when working in a hospital, but none more so than in one that specialises in the delivery of newborn babies, where the smallest outbreak could have severe consequences. This added pressure sees OCS working closely with the in-house infection prevention team to ensure its own processes are continually improved and no stone is left unturned.

Taylor believes that variation, flexibility, and cooperation are key to keeping infection at bay. She explained: “Our routines vary across the site, as each area within the hospital is subject to its own unique schedule determining how and when certain tasks are performed. Staff flexibility is also incredibly important due to the highly dynamic nature of the hospital environment. We will always ensure that there is comprehensive cover around the clock, with extra staff on standby if necessary.

“Senior management also encourages cleaning operatives to integrate fully with the needs of the ward managers, matrons and wider nursing staff. Doing so means that the company’s cleaning efforts align with wider hospital procedure and reduce the risk of error.”


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