A really positive result to come out of the crisis is that some of the amazing essential workers are at last getting the recognition they deserve. Now the Textile Services Association (TSA), wants to remind the country of another group of amazing people. They are key workers who support the healthcare key workers. They are the 4,000 laundry workers who are washing the NHS’s soiled linen. Most of them work in commercial laundries around the country and they’re doing a vital job that’s both hard and largely unacknowledged.
“I hope that when we all clap for our healthcare workers on Thursdays at 8pm, these guys will be in people’s thoughts too,” says David Stevens, CEO of the TSA.
A new commercial laundry for healthcare will cost many millions of pounds to build. “The only way to ensure a hygienic product and guarantee decontamination is by using a combination of heat and chemical disinfection, all precisely controlled using the latest technology,” says Stevens. “Staff have to stick to strict procedures. One area we have seen a massive uplift in is demand for scrub suits – over a million have been added to the stocks in just over two weeks across NHS Trusts.”
Synergy LMS Healthcare is one of the major laundry services providers to the NHS. The company has just brought online a brand new multi-million-pound healthcare laundry facility at Mere Grange, St Helens. Sue Swales, group customer experience director, cannot praise the team there enough.
“We have a large number of healthcare laundry workers on site and they wear full PPE for their safety” she said. “These individuals are all doing an incredible job in really worrying times. They have really gone the extra mile to get our new facility up and running, from a standing start, to a very short, high pressure timescale.
“Everyone at Synergy is working hard to support the NHS throughout this time,” she says. “Infection control is now more important than ever. That’s why laundries serving the NHS have to have the highest hygiene standards. Our staff work really hard to ensure we adhere to strict healthcare guidelines.
“There’s no doubt that they and all the 4,000 laundry workers servicing the NHS deserve a big shout out.”
The TSA is currently working with the government to investigate how the laundry industry might help solve the PPE shortage, by switching to re-usable products that can be laundered and re-used with absolute safety.“We have 24,000 laundry workers who have been furloughed,” says Stevens. “Their laundries serviced the hospitality and sports industries. We can repurpose these commercial laundries to help the NHS get through the crisis.”