'Your hospital needs you': call for cleaners in Preston and Chorley

The Royal Preston and Chorley and South Ribble Hospital are on the hunt for over 100 extra cleaners to bolster their numbers in the continuing fight against Covid-19.

By Paul Faulkner
Thursday, 12th November 2020, 10:26 am

The trust which runs the two hospitals has launched a recruitment drive to help maintain high hygiene standards in additional areas which have been opened up to aid social distancing and keep the facilities Covid-secure.

Cleaning frequency has also been increased across the hospital estate in response to ever-shifting national guidelines about how to reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission.

Stefanie Johnson, resourcing manager at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals (LTH), is appealing to locals looking for work to come and help their hospitals fight “a hidden enemy” - and she is quick to scotch any suggestion that the roles are “only cleaning” jobs.

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Cleaning frequency has been increased at Central Lancashire's hospitals during the pandemic

“This isn’t like cleaning your house or doing a bit of dusting - it’s hard graft and physically demanding.

“This is a profession in its own right - people don’t just come in and start, they have got to go through a training course in-house and we are highly-governed by NHS standards.

“It’s not that our hospitals are unclean now - we just need a workforce that is able to be quick to respond.

“The fact is our hospitals would shut without our cleaners,” Stefanie said.

Stefanie Johnson and Jason Jackson-Bates

There is currently a 400-strong cleaning team at the Royal Preston and more than 110 staff at the Chorley and South Ribble site.

Around 40 permanent roles are on offer at the trust, with between 60 and 70 six-month contracts also available and a further 20 casual vacancies for cleaners who can be called on as and when needed.

Jason Jackson-Bates, assistant manager of domestics at LTH, admits the job can be tough - especially during the current pandemic. However, he says it is rewarding work.

“It’s a big responsibility and we are cleaning both patient and staff areas - but the cleaning team is like a big family.

“We don’t just chuck people in at the deep end either - we buddy them up for two weeks,” explained Jason, who himself started out as a cleaner at the Royal Preston 24 years ago.

And if cleaning standards fit for royalty are required to keep Covid at bay in Central Lancashire's hospitals, then LTH has an advantage - having recently recruited a former royal butler onto its books.

“This chap worked at Buckingham Palace and so I thought I'd better explain to him how physically challenging the cleaning job can be," Jason said.

“But when I spoke to him again a short time after he started, he was really enjoying it and said how friendly and welcoming all the staff had been.”

Meanwhile, Stefanie is urging prospective cleaners not to be put off by the weighty application process.

“It has to be in-depth because we need information to assess people and do all the screening that we have to do before people come on site.

“But there is something for everyone within these vacancies. In the permanent roles, there is a career path for people who want to go on to become supervisors or managers like Jason has - or you can just come in and clean and go if that is what you’d prefer.

“For those who take on a fixed-term contract, it’s a foot in the door with the NHS - and once they're in, they’ll have eyes their opened to the many different roles available across the trust.

“We need people to help promote these jobs in the community - so we're asking everybody to tell their families and friends about them.

“And, if you're interested, please come and join us.”