The NHS Scotland National Cleaning Services Specification: Healthcare Associated Infection Task Force

Guidance to NHSScotland


From the Chief Medical Officer
Dr E M Armstrong, FRCS(Ed) FRCP(Glas, Ed) FRCGP FFPH
St. Andrew's House
Edinburgh EH1 3DG
Telephone 0131-244 2836
Fax 0131-244 2835

Date 12 May 2004

Ref SEHD/CMO(2004)8

For action
Chief Executives of NHS Boards
Chief Executive of The State Hospital
Chief Executive of the Scottish Ambulance Service
The Care Commission
The Health and Safety Executive
Hospices in Scotland registered with the Care Commission
Hospitals in Scotland registered with the Care Commission
Clinical Director, SCIEH

For information
Further enquiries

Mrs Margaret Tannahill
Project Leader Healthcare Associated Infection Task Force
Scottish Executive Health Department
St Andrew's House
Edinburgh EH1 3DG
Dr Peter Christie
Senior Medical Officer
Scottish Executive Health Department
St Andrew's House,
Edinburgh EH1 3DG

Dear Colleague


Prevention and control of HAI is a high-profile priority issue for NHSScotland. A major 3-year programme of work was laid out in the SEHD Ministerial Action Plan on HAI, now being actioned by the Scottish HAI Task Force, of which I am the Chair. One of the immediate priorities was to develop updated technical requirements for rigorous and effective cleaning processes to be used in NHS specifications for cleaning services. Cleaning services staff are an essential part of the multidisciplinary approach to increased public, patient and staff safety. A key message from the HAI Task Force is that hygiene, particularly clean hands and clean hospitals, is everyone's responsibility, in the prevention and control of infection.

My previous letter to you on this issue was to seek views on a consultation document outlining these technical requirements. From August 2003, in the interim period before consultation was finalised, NHS bodies were asked to use the draft consultation document as interim guidance

The enclosed final document (see has been developed by an HAI Task Force multidisciplinary working group under the chair of Heather Knox, Director of Facilities, Ayrshire and Arran Primary Care NHS Trust. This document has taken account of all views expressed from the very helpful consultation process.

This final document is to be implemented with immediate effect by NHS Boards across all clinical areas. In addition, the principles underpinning this guidance can be applied across all healthcare settings, including beyond the NHS. This is of necessity a sizeable document, covering as it does a wide variety of premises, environments and items to be cleaned, the actual specification codes for any one physical setting (e.g. Code G for Health Centres) are relatively concise.

The document also focuses on the crucial issues of performance management and, particularly, the importance of staff training and development.

I would ask that NHS Board Chief Executives distribute copies of this letter and the attached document to:

  • Divisional Chief Executives

  • Hotel Services Managers or equivalents (for further distribution to in-house or contracted-out Cleaning Services Managers)

  • Directors of Facilities

  • The Senior Infection Control Manager (per HDL 2001(10))

  • Infection Control Teams

Please accept my thanks for your assistance with this important initiative.

Yours sincerely



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