Cleaning up hospital laundry services
With the majority of hospital laundry services being carried out by independent contractors, the industry is working to ensure its processes and standards reflect excellence of practice.
The Textile Rental and Laundry Association Australia Ltd (TRLAA) is the peak body of state laundry associations, representing members who service the textile rental, laundry and linen supply of health care, hospitality, manufacturing and domestic market. The association is committed to identifying national programs and projects that will advance and protect the Australian laundry industry for the future.
The association’s national priorities are to:
- Reduce environmental impact
- Facilitate continuous improvement
- Market the Australian laundry industry
- Communicate to all stakeholders
- Address human resource issues
- Review laundry standards
- Advance a national training platform
- Identify R&D to assist the industry
TRLAA president Mario Marini says the association realises it must be able to demonstrate a high standards of compliance to have a valued position in the industry. And, while the industry is subject to working under standards regulated by Standards Australia, there are further measures that can be taken.
“We would really like to work towards an accreditation system where our customers, healthcare businesses and facilities, have a set of guidelines and compliances that we must meet,” Mr Marini says.
“We need to be accountable and we want our customers to have a form of measuring their expected demands for processes and procedures.”
The laundry industry currently works under the following standards:
- IS 9001
- AS 4146 (laundry practices)
- AS 3789 (textiles for Healthcare facilities)
- AS 4187 (code of practice)
- Infection Control
- ACHS Equip (compliance)
“A lot of these standards are overdue for review,” Mr Marini says. “AS 4146 has not been updated since 2000.
“As an industry, we want to be drivers for excellence and accountable to customer
“We are working with colleagues in the industry to come up with an accreditation program that demonstrates the industry’s commitment to excellence in practice.
The TRLAA intends to provide healthcare operated laundries, linen services and their customers with a common reference for acceptable laundry performance.
“Healthcare operated laundries and linen services have a unique understanding and responsibility in terms of their ownership and operating structure. “As public healthcare owned businesses there is an empathy and awareness of required standards and outcomes, particularly the Equip standards, matched with business models that meet the respective health care group goals.
“Healthcare operated laundries and linen services have a unique understanding and responsibility in terms of their ownership and operating structure. “As public healthcare owned businesses there is an empathy and awareness of required standards and outcomes, particularly the Equip standards, matched with business models that meet the respective health care group goals.”
“There is no obligation for any laundry to follow these codes; however we have an opportunity to lobby our customers and health services to ensure that these requirements are included within supply specifications.
The TRLAA is working on a checklist which provides a reference point to determine the level of compliance.
Compliance measurement can be undertaken internally or through an external source to illustrate greater compliance.
“As a minimum, laundries should have their own internal systems to illustrate compliance,” Mr Marino explains on behalf of the association.
The desired outcome of the TRLAA is to have all customers agree to include the codes as a contractual requirement and to develop internal and/or external checking system.
“The result will be better outcomes for health services and better recognition for those who invest in compliance,” Mr Marini explains.
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