Leicester study: Hospital uniform washing 'not hot enough'

Dr David Jenkins
Image caption Dr David Jenkins said there was a "lack of evidence between contaminated uniforms and infections"

Almost half of hospital staff are not washing their uniforms in water hot enough to kill bacteria, a Leicester study has revealed.

De Montfort University found 49% of 265 staff questioned at four unnamed East Midland hospitals did not wash uniforms at the required 60C (140F).

Researchers have called for uniform washing to be brought back in-house.

Dr David Jenkins from the University of Leicester Hospitals NHS Trust said the current measures were working.

'Lack of evidence'

"Well there is a cost element to it and it would be very expensive to bring back in-house laundry for uniforms.

"Given the lack of evidence between contaminated uniforms and infections, I think it would be an inappropriate use of scarce NHS resources at this time," Dr Jenkins said.

The study also found 40% of staff questioned washed uniforms with other clothing and only 74% cleaned them after every shift.

The report says uniforms can carry infections such as MRSA and Clostridium difficile and "the development of national guidelines for domestic laundering of healthcare uniforms" would give greater clarity for staff.

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