A discussion paper, published by the Coventry-based Central Sterilising Club, has called for the laundry industry to develop a specific healthcare linen code of practice.
The paper results from the Club’s 1999 technical meeting which discussed laundry standards and the interpretation of current Health Service guidelines (HUG (95)18).
Endorsing the findings of its laundry working group, the club concluded that monitoring should focus on the process not the product, and that major research should be conducted into the regular recontamination of linen in continuous tunnel washers.
The Club is recommending all concerned with preparing contract documents and evaluating bids for laundry contracts to regard both Health Service Guidelines and the discussion paper as essential reading.
The Club’s expert group is now developing proposals for research to establish the controls that should be applied to laundry machines to ensure that infectious linen is disinfected. This will involve hot and cold processes, continuous tunnel washing machines and the small industrial machines often used by nursing homes.
Nigel Cripps, convenor of the laundry working group, said: “This work is the technical underpin for emerging European standards on laundry textile bio-contaminates management control systems.”