Issue Date: 10 August 2017
Cleaning Innovation Aplenty At New Cancer Centre
Cleaning operations at the brand new Cancer Centre at Guy’s Hospital in London are being managed by CK Group and an in-house team using innovative TASKI machines and equipment from Diversey Care. In addition to a fleet of floorcare machines, microfibre and trolley systems the site is the first hospital in the UK to use the TASKI Intellibot robotic scrubber drier.
The Cancer Centre is a £160 million development to provide a full range of outpatient services including radiotherapy, chemotherapy, imaging, minor procedures and therapies. By bringing the majority of cancer treatment into one building, it will streamline care provision and improve the experience for patients from across South East London and beyond. The building will accommodate 700 outpatients at peak times across all services.
With its longstanding experience in healthcare, CK Group has provided cleaning services for Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust for many years. Its management team started working with counterparts at the Trust during the construction phase to devise, commission and implement a cleaning regime to meet extremely strict criteria and objectives. In addition to exceptional levels of hygiene, these included meeting the Trust’s wish to embrace innovation and sustainable cleaning.
Although the treatment floors of the Cancer Centre have slightly different layouts, each generally has an open lift-lobby area with access to treatment rooms and changing rooms, specialist facilities, washrooms, offices, and external balconies for patients, visitors and staff to relax.
The cleaning requirement is similar for all floors, but each must have a specific set of cleaning processes, machines and tools. Working to the brief agreed with the in-house team, CK Group recommended a complete range of TASKI equipment from Diversey Care which the Trust purchased through CK Consumables.
The most prominent innovation is the all-new TASKI Intellibot robotic cleaner. This will work on its own with minimal supervision to clean open areas including the lift-lobbies. Its “hands-free cleaning” capability offers significant improvements in productivity by relieving skilled operatives from routine floorcare tasks to focus on other duties where they can add value. At the same time, the Intellibot is also a highly visible demonstration that the Trust and its service provider have invested in a ground-breaking innovation.
“We trialled the Intellibot at St Thomas’s earlier in the year and it was very successful,” says Ian Pether, CK Group’s managing director. “We like to invest in technology and innovation for contracts because this shows our cleaners that we are investing in them to enhance performance and hygiene levels. We want to enhance standards with the same number of staff and for the same money but we still need people on the floor.”
To complement the Intellibot, the commissioning team selected four TASKI swingo 2100micro scrubber driers. These machines are ideal for busy and confined areas because they have an ultra-compact design and tight turning circle. A unique “active sitting” driving position supports the operator in the ideal posture and reduces fatigue while allowing easy access for maximum productivity.
“This machine is very manoeuvrable which is ideal for work around furniture and fittings,” says Andy Cassie, sales manager at CK Consumables. “The perched operating position allows operators to get on and off more easily than using a larger machine with a seat.”
Another innovative feature of the micro that appealed to the team was its offset cleaning capability. The mechanism can project to one side to clean right up against a wall or obstruction. Ordinarily, this removes the need for secondary detailed cleaning but in this setting there is another advantage. Many of the walls have protective low-level barriers which could restrict access for most cleaning machines. However, when used in its offset cleaning mode the machine cleans underneath these without hindrance.
“It’s great for the edges and the machine doesn’t need to get too close to the wall so it’s safer,” says Andy Cassie.
Floor cleaning in rooms and smaller areas is completed using compact pedestrian-operated machines including the TASKI swingo 150, 350 and 455 models. These are complemented by TASKI ergodisc 2000 rotary cleaners for general floorcare. All these machines can be used with a wide range of brush and pad types suitable for the various floor types including wood, vinyl, rubber, glass and ceramic that are found throughout the building.
Microfibre is used throughout the Trust’s facilities for general surface cleaning tasks. One of the main advantages of microfibre is that it can be used with water alone or, as in the Cancer Centre at Guy’s, with a greatly reduced number and amount of chemicals while maintaining highly effective infection removal and prevention performance. These sustainability benefits, allied with the ergonomic efficiency of processes, makes microfibre an ideal option for healthcare settings.
“We’ve done a lot of work with the Trust to implement microfibre and they wanted to use it for more environmental hygiene,” says Ian Pether. “There are lots of different surfaces in the Cancer Centre and microfibre is ideal for all of them. It also suits our ISO 14001 accreditation.”
The microfibre mops and cloths are used with the TASKI Trolley system. The trolley’s modular design allowed the commissioning team to specify configurations with exactly the right layout for efficient and ergonomic cleaning. This included the number and size of boxes and containers for the microfibre tools. Each trolley has a short handle to make it easier when working in confined areas. Two trolleys are allocated to each floor, with each restricted to specific areas to eliminate the risk of cross-contamination.
“We helped Guy’s and St Thomas’ introduce TASKI microfibre seven years ago and they have over 300 trolleys which we are currently replacing with the latest models,” says Ian Pether. “We devised a system that still works and it’s going fantastically. When a new area like the Cancer Centre opens we specify a trolley and deploy it. It works.”
Another simple but highly effective use of microfibre on site is for cleaning the large number of internal and low-level windows. Operatives use an extendable or compact mop frame to clean these surfaces quickly and effectively. The same cloths can also be used on stainless steel surfaces such as lift doors.
CK Group employs a strict regime for all microfibre throughout the hospital, ensuring proper rotation of cloths. It also manages the laundry located in St Thomas’ where it deals with 1.5 tonnes of fabrics from the Trust’s sites every day.
Although some cleaning will be carried out during the day the majority of routine work will be completed at night to avoid disruption. CK Group has assembled a dedicated cleaning team of experienced cleaners with healthcare expertise. The team was on site for some weeks before the official opening to complete a commission clean and then manage the transition to normal operations. To support smooth implementation, CK Group has been training staff on machines and microfibre with support from Diversey Care.
“The Trust asked us to do a commission clean and then manage the daily and nightly cleaning in partnership with the in-house team,” says Ian Pether. “We’ve built the relationship with the Trust over the years and we are known for giving good advice to customers in healthcare. It is great for two sides of our business to support each other in this contract.”
This partnership works across the whole facility but is particularly effective in the areas such as the aseptic rooms where sterile items are handled and prepared. These require ultra-high standards and the Trust’s in-house team works extremely closely with CK Group to ensure the most effective processes. Unusually for a contract cleaning business, the company has an experienced in-house infection prevention professional who can offer advice whenever needed.
“Our relationship with Diversey Care has always been good,” says Ian Pether. “Whatever product, chemical or machines we specify is always fit for purpose. We are probably the largest TASKI dealer in the UK at the moment and all the machines are covered by a two-year warranty. If something needs fixing the service from them is always good compared to the industry average. This is very important in a hospital with its unique demands and pressures.”