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Hospital staff told to ‘only change linen if essential’ amid supply shortages

The NHS is facing a shortage of laundry supplies that could have a “knock-on effect” on bed numbers, an industry leader has warned, with staff at one trust recently told to “only change linen if essential”.

The Textile Services Association (TSA), which represents multiple laundry businesses that provide supplies to the NHS, said Brexit and the pandemic had caused large labour shortages which were making it difficult to meet demand across the healthcare and hospitality sectors.

David Stevens, chief executive of TSA, told The Independent that “shortages of linen and laundry will have a knock-on effect on the provision of beds in trusts”, adding that the “bounce back post-Covid created a high demand for product and the supply chain was not able to deliver”.

In an internal email circulated to staff last month at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, one senior official said both the trust and the NHS were “currently experiencing severe issues with the supply chain for linen deliveries,” adding that the situation is “currently very serious”.

The email reads: “Please follow good Infection Prevention and Control practices, but only change linen if essential. For example, always change bed linen between patients, but do not change inpatients’ bed linen daily if at all possible.”

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Source: The Independent, 30 June 2022


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