Linen facilities – what’s under the sheets?

Kristie Popkiss 1

Serco Fiona Stanley Hospital, Bibra Lake, WA, Australia


Auditing laundry facilities, laundry transportation vehicles, and storage of linen is a key component of NSQHS Standard 3, however, it is an integral hospital service that can be overlooked, especially when the service is provided by an external contractor. A new linen provider was reviewed in October 2015, and it was apparent that there were a number of areas that did not meet infection prevention and management (IP&M) standards and required significant advice and input. The infrastructure of the facility, coupled with poor work and IP&M practices at the initial audit were concerning to find.

A baseline audit was undertaken with a new provider. This revealed a failure to comply with the AS/NZS 4146:2000 with a result of only 21.6% compliance to the standard. The ‘new’ contractor currently held the linen contract for all of Western Australia (WA) Health’s major public hospitals.
All failed audit components were identified along with the expected action to be implemented to ensure the facility and its practices met the standard.

The implementation of a detailed action plan to improve laundry standards resulted in a compliance rate of 91% over 8 weeks to ensure patient and staff safety which remains paramount.

Fiona Stanley (FSH) recommendations are now the benchmark for the linen service across WA. These new operating standards for the laundry facility have reduced the risk for patients state-wide. FSH has played a major role in enforcing and lifting standards of linen services across all health care facilities in WA.

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