Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland health trust staff told to clean own offices

Trust staff will be responsible for cleaning their own work areas
Trust staff will be responsible for cleaning their own work areas

Staff at the Northern Health Trust have been told they will now be responsible for cleaning their own work area, a move branded as "absurd" by a trade union.

Office staff at the Trust, in addition to their normal duties, will be required to mop floors and clean shelves, according to a memo seen by the BBC.

The Trust said the decision was made following a review of cleaning services and it was "mindful of the need to protect the health of everyone who uses our premises".

While staff will be responsible for their own workspaces, regular cleaning staff will continue to clean other spaces such as corridors and toilets.

Kevin McAdam of the trade union Unite said the idea was "absurd" and urged the Trust to reverse the decision.

"There is nothing wrong with trying to save money or indeed use money wisely, but this is penny wise pound foolish," he said.

"So you are asking people on senior salaries to do other roles and this is not in any way demeaning cleaners - they are a vital part of the team in the health service."

"Cleaners do a valued role in the health service and are a valued part of the health team, but distracting senior clinicians from their equally valuable role just makes a mockery of the service.

"Do we pay our taxes to train nurses allied health professionals and other senior office based staff to clean their rooms or provide direct clinical care to patients?"

A Northern Health Trust spokesperson said they would provide basic cleaning equipment for staff to carry out their new duties.

"To ensure we can meet the highest standards for environmental cleanliness in areas where patients and clients are cared for, we previously reprioritised cleaning in administrative areas," the said.

"We focus on cleaning staff washrooms, kitchens and public areas including meeting rooms. We have, however, asked staff to keep their office spaces clean and tidy and have made available some basic equipment such as vacuum cleaners."

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