International Housekeepers and Environmental Services Week

Our housekeeping team

International Housekeepers and Environmental Services Week is held annually on the second full week of September (12-18 in 2021). This week is dedicated to recognising and appreciating the hard work of these essential staff members.

At our CQC rated Outstanding hospital, we are proud of our housekeeping team who ensure our rigorous hygiene standards are maintained. During the global pandemic, our unsung heroes have consistently performed above and beyond to ensure that the hospital facilities provide a clean and safe environment for both patients and visitors.

The team of 28, mainly part-time, housekeeping staff, is led by the Housekeeping Manager, Marian Chandler who is also a member of our infection prevention and control team.

“I started working at the hospital on 24 September 2001 as a part time evening Housekeeping Assistant cleaning theatre. The job wasn’t advertised, I just telephoned in to see if there were any vacancies and I was asked to attend for interview. From day one I was made to feel like a member of the team and not just in my own department but the wider hospital too.

Today when a new housekeeping staff member joins the team, they undertake a rigorous training programme run by Housekeeping Support Services Coordinator, Jane Marrable.

Debbie Thorogood, Housekeeping Assistant, recalls the excellent training she received here: “Jane trained me when I started working here and I thought I’d never be able to remember everything, but she reassured me that it would all come together eventually which it did. It is tough training; you’ve got to be so thorough and you can’t miss anything which is why we have such a good reputation.”

This training programme includes “isolation cleans”. Isolation cleans are required when a patient has left a room and for example their MRSA test results are not yet available or they have tested positive for clostridium difficile (C.diff), bacteria that can infect the bowel and cause diarrhoea.

Staff training in this procedure involves a full room clean, where the team member learns how to use scrubbing machines and steam cleaners, and something called a fogging machine: this machine emits a fine mist into the room with a chemical which is 99.9% effective against MRSA.

Marian explains what her responsibilities are: “My job role is very varied, managing the laundry and uniform service is also in my remit – it’s never boring. I do enjoy working here, I like what Benenden Hospital stands for, we literally do what we say in our values: be caring, connected, smart and brave. I am incredibly lucky and proud to have such a brilliant team, they work tirelessly to ensure the hospital cleaning standards are being met.”

Since the onset of Covid-19, we have also critically reviewed and questioned the protocols and responsibilities of the housekeeping team. This included an assessment of the chemicals and cleaning agents that staff use to ensure these are fully effective against fighting Covid-19.

Cleanliness is crucial and there has always been a robust cleaning regime in place but due to the pandemic, having excellent standards is of even greater importance. The challenge of Covid-19 has made our housekeepers at Benenden Hospital even more focused in their approach and it has brought the team even closer than they were before.

Debbie speaks of the family feel at Benenden Hospital: “My mum worked here for 20 years and retired in 2004, then my sister started here in 2010 and it was her that said I should apply for a job here. They said it’s such a great place to work everybody knows your name, it doesn’t matter what department you work in, it’s good fun to be here. So, I applied in 2015.

Marian speaks proudly of the impeccably clean hospital her housekeeping staff maintain: “We receive lots of positive patient feedback which is motivating and rewarding. Our housekeeping team has an excellent reputation and is highly thought of by everyone in our CQC rated Outstanding hospital, hence why we won Best of Benenden – Support Services Excellence – in 2016!” The Best of Benenden Awards is an annual hospital event which began in 2015 and seeks to recognise staff achievements across all departments.

If you’re interested in a role at our CQC rated Outstanding hospital, Marian, Jane and Debbie have the best advice for you. “Be confident, willing, passionate about the role, use your initiative and be a supportive team player. Also, remember that catering make the best cups of tea!”

Visit our careers page for more information.

A huge thank you to the housekeeping team, we are so proud of our staff and all they do in keeping everybody safe. Learn more about our ultra-clean medical facilities.

Published on 10 September 2021