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Jamie Reed MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Minister, has written to Andrew Lansley asking him to investigate and root out similar examples across the NHS of reports today that nursing staff at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust have been required to clean and tidy in acute and general admission wards, despite fears it will divert from patient care.

The full text of the letter is below:

31st July 2012

Dear Andrew,

I was dismayed to read reports that Mid-Yorkshire Hospitals Trust is asking its nursing staff to complete additional cleaning duties in the absence of a sufficiently funded cleaning service.

Recent Board papers from the Trust include an expert report from Brian Duerden on hospital cleanliness, in response to infection targets being missed at local hospitals. The report outlines his concern that nurses are required to perform cleaning duties to compensate for the lack of a 24/7 service – duties for which nurses have not been properly trained and that distract nursing staff from patient care, he argues.

Earlier this month in the House of Commons Ministers denied that the Government has lost its grip on NHS finances, in the face of evidence from Labour showing successive real terms budget cuts and the destabilising effect of the Government’s unnecessary £3bn re-organisation.

Department of Health statistics on the NHS workforce, published only last Wednesday, show that the number of nursing posts lost since May 2010 has now reached 4539. Nurses who remain in post are increasingly over-stretched and the Government’s mismanagement of NHS finances has forced nursing staff to take on additional duties away from patients.

Mid-Yorkshire Trust has today confirmed that this practice is not unique to its hospitals. I would be grateful if you would agree to investigate this case thoroughly, root out similar examples from across the NHS and give nurses and patients much-needed reassurance they will not pay the price for the Government’s lost grip on NHS finances.

I look forward to receiving your response.

Yours Sincerely,

Jamie Reed MP

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