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Nurses brand call to take on extra cleaning duties ‘ridiculous’

Calls for specialist nurses at Luton and Dunstable University Hospital to undertake cleaning duties during periods of short staffing spark social media backlash
Hospital cleaning

Calls for specialist nurses at Luton and Dunstable University Hospital to undertake cleaning duties during periods of short staffing spark social media backlash

Nurses have labelled calls for specialist nurses to undertake cleaning duties during periods of short staffing as ‘outrageous’ and ‘ridiculous’, as well as noting that it would be taking time away from patient care.

Specialist nurses at Luton and Dunstable University Hospital were told they could be asked to take on cleaning duties, including cleaning and tidying the sluice, cleaning high touch points such as door handles, and answering phones as the trust struggled with staffing shortages.

Nurses take to social media to vent their frustrations

Posting on

Calls for specialist nurses at Luton and Dunstable University Hospital to undertake cleaning duties during periods of short staffing spark social media backlash

Picture: iStock

Nurses have labelled calls for specialist nurses to undertake cleaning duties during periods of short staffing as ‘outrageous’ and ‘ridiculous’, as well as noting that it would be taking time away from patient care.

Specialist nurses at Luton and Dunstable University Hospital were told they could be asked to take on cleaning duties, including cleaning and tidying the sluice, cleaning high touch points such as door handles, and answering phones as the trust struggled with staffing shortages.

Nurses take to social media to vent their frustrations

Posting on Nursing Standard’s Facebook page, many nurses were quick to point out that some general cleaning duties were often undertaken by nurses, but not more thorough cleaning which was usually left to those who had been trained to do so.

‘This is outrageous. Where will they find the time for patient care if they have to clean as well? They’ll find that nurses already do “urgently needed” cleaning to facilitate movement of patients,’ one nurse said.

Another said: ‘Yes ward nurses do a lot of the cleaning and admin jobs as they are the only 24/7 profession in the wards but taking highly qualified case holding staff to do those jobs is madness.

‘I wouldn’t want to stay in a trust that had that level of respect for its staff, why not ask all those managers who sit in offices all day to go and do it.’

Trust facing unprecedented demand for emergency care

A senior staff nurse told of the ‘ridiculous’ extra tasks nurses are expected to do at their place of work.

‘I am a senior staff nurse and work in my local hospice, and it is ridiculous the extra tasks the nurses are expected to do. Clean equipment, empty bins, clean commodes, baths, clean rooms and now, due to staff shortages in the housekeeping department, to stock up linen,’ she said.

Other nurses joked that management and doctors should also be asked to do the cleaning.

In a letter to staff last week, Luton and Dunstable University Hospital called for specialist nurses to be released for whole shifts to be counted towards the staffing numbers of a ward as the hospital struggles to keep up with demand.

Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Luton and Dunstable University Hospital, recently reported unprecedented demand for emergency care, urging the public to come to the emergency department only in the case of an emergency.


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