At the campaign’s launch (26 April) general secretary Beverly Malone said that nurses not only need a clean uniform for every shift, they also need all trusts to provide a laundering service so that uniforms could be washed at the correct temperatures. She was horrified that many nurses were forced, through lack of laundering provision, to wash uniforms at home, maybe even with domestic washing such as nappies.

Trusts also need to have proper changing rooms on site so that nurses do not have to travel home in uniform or to change in ward toilets.

Jean Lawrence, chair of the Infection Control Nurses Association, one of the campaign partners, pointed out that trusts had moved away from laundry provision.

A survey of 101 NHS trusts carried out by the RCN’s journal Nursing Standard found 65% of trusts do not launder uniforms and where they do, turnround was often more than 48 hours, forcing the use of domestic machines.

Research recommends nine uniforms per nurse, but many trusts give five and 39% only four or three.

LCN spoke to Roz Wallis an Infection control nurse with Chelsea and Westminster Trust. Strongly supporting the campaign, she said that three or four uniforms was not enough. There had been a cultural change. When she was a students she had had eight uniforms.

The campaign’s call for reforms covers hygiene in all its aspects and includes mandatory infection control training at induction; standardised training at pre-registration for all; more power for matrons, staff nurses and charge nurses to ensure a hygienic environment; the availability of 24 hour rapid- response cleaning teams; the establishment of ward housekeepers throughout the UK; and straightforward systems for staff, patients and visitors to report cases of poor practice.