TSA: New hygiene certification scheme enables hospitality laundries to service NHS and care homes12 August 2020
A new hygiene certification scheme means hospitality laundries can help the healthcare sector through the Covid-19 crisis. This is a welcome lifleline for the many hospitality laundries so badly affected by the lockdown of hotels and restaurants.
More than 30 hospitality laundries have already signed up to the new interimcertification scheme that will allow them to help the UK’s health and social care system manage the increasing amount of dirty linen and textiles created by the Covid-19 pandemic. The demand is expected to rise in the coming weeks considering the Government strategy to move from disposable to reusable PPE gowns. Meanwhile, the Department of Health and Social Care is looking to use commercial laundries to ensure all adult social care facilities have access to hygienically cleaned and safe linens and textiles.
Textile Services Association (TSA), which represents the UK’s commercial laundries, has developed the scheme in consultation with NHSI (NHS Improvement) and other Government departments. Called the Interim Healthcare Laundry Certification (IHLC), it gives laundries that normally serve the hospitality sector a fast track to the specialist standards of hygiene required by the NHS, care homes and other medical facilities.
“C-19 has created unprecedented levels of healthcare laundry, which requires specialist processing,” said David Stevens, CEO of the TSA. “The increase was in the order of half a million PPE gowns every day at the peak of this pandemic. Plus, there are the uniforms, towels, bed linen and patients’ clothes. To cope with that, the UK needs more specialist laundries.”
Under normal circumstances, laundries that want to service the healthcare sector need to achieve BS EN 14065 certification. This is the standard that specifies the appropriate approach to managing bio-contamination risks and providing fit-for-purpose textiles with sufficient microbiological quality. However, the urgent requirement for more laundry capacity, due to Covid-19, led to the creation of the new, fast track certification.
To achieve the Interim Healthcare Laundry Certification, laundries need to meet the requirements of the Department of Health’s technical memorandum HTM 01-04: Decontamination of Linen for Health and Social Care. This provides a clear path for commercial laundries to prove they consistently decontaminate healthcare linen and manage related risks to patient safety. The TSA has published a guidance document, Interim Healthcare Laundry Certification / Response to COVID-19, which gives full details on how laundries can meet these requirements.
“We want to ensure the laundry industry is ready to service the increasing needs of the healthcare sector,” said Stevens. “We are delighted that so many laundries have already taken up the scheme, and we expect more to follow.”