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British Labor Union Blames Rise in HAI on Cleaning Staff Cuts

February 21, 2017
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Cuts in custodial staff for U.K. National Health Service (NHS) hospitals may be linked to the rise of health care-acquired infections (HAIs), according to British trade union GMB.

Between 2004 and 2008, the infection rate of HAIs fell by 57 percent when the U.K. government spent nearly US$150 million (120 million pounds) on health care cleaning services in response to outbreaks in HAIs. However, between 2011 and 2012 nearly 3,000 NHS cleaning positions were eliminated to a close a multi-billion dollar budget gap.

Since 2016, there are now more than 8,000 new HAI cases.

“The NHS faces a multi-billion pound gap in its finances by 2020,” the British Trade Union’s National Secretary for Pubic Services Rehana Azam, told the London Economic. “Trusts need to put public safety first and stop treating cleaning as a soft target for cost-cutting, and the government must provide NHS with the fair funding that it urgently needs.”

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