Infection rates could rise if the health board’s struggling laundry service is not fully overhauled, a shock report has said.
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board said its ageing laundry service, which is based at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, needs to be completely replaced if infection rates within hospitals are to be kept down.
They are putting forward proposals to the Welsh Government with the hope of securing funding for a brand new off-site facility.
Rod Taylor, director of estates and facilities at the board, said: “Modern and efficient linen services are essential in supporting high quality clinical care and reducing hospital acquired infections.
“North Wales Laundry and Linen Services has been located on the Ysbyty Glan Clwyd site since the hospital was opened in 1981.
“During this time, the main production factory has seen little large scale investment in either infrastructure or equipment.
“The main batch washer was replaced in 2006, but the majority of the production equipment remains as originally fitted.
“This represents a significant risk to the health board in regard to business continuity in linen services.”
Mr Taylor said a lack of action could see the health board struggle to deal with certain infections.
“Equipment age and condition are now a significant risk to the service due to lost production, service breakdowns and mechanical failures,” he said.
“This poses a significant risk to the health board in regard to reducing healthcare-associated infections.
“Continuing with existing arrangements offers no benefits and represents a significant risk to business continuity and safety due to its limited resilience and inability to comply with the latest standards on decontamination of linen.”
He added that the current equipment is of such an age that it has become difficult to fix it.
“North Wales Laundry and Linen Services employs dedicated laundry engineers to service and maintain the equipment,” said Mr Taylor.
“The age and condition of the equipment has resulted recently in a number of major breakdowns, requiring electrical and mechanical replacement parts to be manufactured due to the equipment being obsolete.”
The service, which deals with more than five million individual pieces of linen per year, is also causing issues due to its location within the hospital.
Mr Taylor said: “The historic design of the building has resulted in an extensive system of open ended voids being used under the main factory floor to support steam and drainage pipe work.
“This constitutes a continuous risk to the service due to access challenges and requires regular monitoring in relation to pest control.”
The health board will next week decide whether to present the business plan to the Welsh Government.
If approved, the new site would be set to begin work in May 2019.
Source : DailyPost