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How do you keep on top of cleaning standards?

by in CQC, GP Practice Management, Policies

Cleaning standards and schedule

How many times have you bumped into a new member of the cleaning team and they’ve looked… well, a little unsure about the job in hand? Even if they’re being supervised, the supervisor is also on a tight schedule and can’t watch them all the time… So, are you actually getting value for money, and are you sure that what’s being cleaned is supposed to be cleaned?

This isn’t just a primary care problem. As it happens, all forms of industry up and down the land need to be concerned because there are many strict regulations in place and we’re contracted to ensure we have clean premises. This isn’t about the CQC or who pays the bills, it’s actually about patient safety and we should act as role models when it comes to having a clean working environment.

Over the years, I’ve been into many practices and, just like some of our patients, I’ll always scrutinise the level of cleanliness. I’ll look into corners and up at ceilings to see if I can spot ‘Incy Wincy’ lurking there, my pen poised ready to write about the cleaning standards. But unless the practice manager has read the practice’s cleaning schedule or had the ‘pleasure’ of reading the NHS Cleaning Manual – all 170+ pages of it – they may be a little in the dark about what should be happening.

Can I suggest that those practices which don’t have measures in place to ensure that standards are being maintained should try to help that new member of the cleaning team on Day 1. I believe practices have two options, when it comes to cleaning, both of which involve a chat with the cleaning manager:

  1. Print out the NHS Cleaning Manual (only 85 pages back to back), spend time extracting the relevant sections which are suited to primary care, and prepare yourself for a ‘right riveting read’.

Then discuss the contents with your cleaning manager and hope they don’t think you’re very dull.


  1. Have a look at the new Cleaning Standards and Schedule Policy [PLUS] from Practice Index and, showing the pre-established schedules to the cleaning manager, agree on the cleaning practices that are required daily, weekly, monthly or over a longer period of time.

All areas of the practice are detailed in the policy and you can print out the relevant sections, laminate and place them on the back of the door. Ten minutes later, you both part company, all smiles and not even a yawn!

Whatever option you choose, there shouldn’t be any excuses about the cleaning work to be undertaken, even if you do meet a bewildered, newly drafted-in member of the cleaning team!

The bottom line is, why overlook this incredibly important and frequently scrutinised area of your general practice? Not only do high standards of cleaning make your practice a pleasant place to work in and visit, they are also a vital part of healthcare.

The ‘Cleaning Standards and Schedule Policy is now ready to download for [PLUS] members.

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Mat Phillips

Mat Phillips

Mat Phillips is a Practice Manager and clinical governance specialist, facilitator and trainer. A primary care career spanning 30+ years within the NHS, in the UK Oil and Gas Industry and Royal Navy. Mat now provides specialist consultancy support to Practice Index and the wider primary care community.

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