The development of the first nationally accredited training programme tailored for hospital and nursing staff workers could lead to improved hygiene levels at Waterford Regional Hospital.

The FETAC-accredited ‘Cleanpass’ system has been designed with the recommendations of the 2007 National Hygiene Services Quality Review in mind.

Last year’s review highlighted the need for specialised training of all support staff working in Ireland’s healthcare services.

This most recent National Hygiene Audit awarded Waterford Regional Hospital a ‘fair’ rating, stating that “the relevance of education and training to each staff member should be formally identified”.

“Until now there has been no nationally accredited training programme of a large proportion of our healthcare support staff,” said Doctor Maeve Harbourne, who helped design the course.

“In the past training for support staff like a cleaner was minimal, with the attitude: ‘how hard is it to clean a floor? The problem with this attitude is that the importance of the job is ignored.”

Continued Dr Harbourne: “A well-trained cleaning operative can be a powerful asset to any healthcare facility. The obvious benefits of training are increases in efficiency, reduction in the waste of resources and an improvement in the public perception of the facility.

“But more importantly proper training can ultimately help in a reduction of the spread of healthcare associated infections.”

Cleanpass includes an online database which allows healthcare managers to gain access to training records, along with a follow-on training course for supervisors, which enables them to hone the skills that their job demands.