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WATCH: Behind the scenes at the PEH Laundry

WATCH: Behind the scenes at the PEH Laundry

Wednesday 14 August 2019

WATCH: Behind the scenes at the PEH Laundry

The often overlooked on-site laundry at the Princess Elizabeth Hospital - which processes 422 tonnes of washing each year - is undergoing an upgrade which should help the 'unsung heroes of the PEH' as they work through piles of contaminated materials and other washing.

The essential service employs 16 workers who clean and press hospital towels, bedding and curtains as well as staff scrubs and uniforms throughout the day.

In an attempt to make the laundry more energy efficient and improve infection control, the HSC Estates Team recently installed a number of new machines in the hospital. They range in size from a 90kg barrier washing machine, three 70kg front-loading washing extractors, three 30kg front-loading service wash machines. Health and Social Care has also invested in a 50kg capacity tumble dryer and a tunnel finisher, which can process 100-150 garments per hour.

Darryl Corbin PEH laundry 

Pictured: Darryl Corbin with the new barrier washing machine.

"The old technology did its job," said Catering, Housekeeping and Laundry Manager, Darryl Corbin. "They were good, robust machines in their day, but these [new] machines are very efficient. We know that they thermally disinfect and chemically disinfect, whereas old technology didn't have that facility. It wasn't part of the old cleaning cycle and programmes, so we have seen a huge difference with these machines."

The laundry team start at around 07:00 and work until 16:00 during which time they will sort, wash, dry, iron and fold around 4,615 items.

"We've got red bags which are all the foul linen," Mr Corbin explained. "This is linen that's possibly got one sort of contamination on it and that's dealt with in a different way to normal dirty linen.

PEH laundry

Pictured: One of the new 70kg washing extractors.

"We have what we call 'pass through barrier wash machines'. They have a door in and a door out with a wall effectively around it so you can't get any physical contamination crossing over. The bags are pushed into the machines, the red bag comes away and inside there is an outer dissolvable bag that will go down the drain. Then out on the other side it passes through to the clean side of the laundry."

Heat and steam from the nearby clinical waste incinerator are used directly by the laundry, therefore reducing demand on energy and improving the hospital's environmental impact.

"If we are required to, we will expand," Mr Corbin continued. "We still have some ageing equipment which we will be replacing over a period of time and we'll concentrate on that first, but should we need to expand then we have capacity to do that."

PEH laundry Cilia Ferreira

Pictured: Cilia Ferreira working at the hospital laundry. 

Some 1.2 million items a year are processed through the laundry, with an average of 1,700kg of used items coming through the doors each day.

Commenting on the laundry team, Laundry and Housekeeping Supervisor Julia Ogier said: "They are the unsung heroes. When you're in the hospital or a hotel room you never think about where your sheets come from, or your towels. You always automatically think they are just there. You don't think about who brings them - the sheet fair must bring them! But they are always there."

The entire project should be completed by the end of the year.

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