Wendy Dale, Domestic Services Manager at York Hospital, explains how the revolutionary OTEX ozone disinfection system is helping to cut HAIs such as MRSA and Clostridium difficile, by eradicating bacteria on microfibre mops and cloths.
York Hospital, the flagship of York Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, installed OTEX for microfibre cloths and mops as part of a plan to bring domestic services back in-house after being contracted out for 14 years.
Fighting back against infection
The site opted for OTEX amid mounting concerns in the NHS about hospital-acquired infections (HAIs), to which the Department of Health estimates around 5,000 deaths each year might be primarily attributable. Facilities management companies serving seven other NHS trusts were already successfully using OTEX in hospitals, but York became the first to introduce the system as part of a cleaning operation staffed by its own personnel.
Thermal vs chemical disinfection
In the NHS, thermal disinfection has traditionally been the preferred method of processing foul or infected laundry. But scientific tests by independent microbiologists Microsearch Laboratories have shown that it is ineffective against C.difficile. One Microsearch test focused on a mop, which had been used in a healthcare environment other than York Hospital. Microsearch thermally disinfected the mop – only to find that it was still teeming with 150,000 C.difficile colonies.
By contrast, further tests proved that the OTEX system, which injects ozone – a powerful natural disinfectant 3,200 times more effective than chlorine – into the wash cycle, is able to destroy C.diff spores along with other micro organisms including MRSA and Norovirus on all wash cycles.
Another major benefit is that OTEX uses mostly cold water and faster wash cycles, dramatically reducing utility and detergent costs, and cutting labour bills by saving time.
The demands on the laundry are so great that York Hospital cannot risk machines being out of action for any length of time. This is why the hospital opted for a JLA Total Care package, which guarantees service within 8-working hours seven days a week, including bank holidays.