TSA: The brand new hygiene certification system permits laundries to serve NHS and nursing properties

United Kingdom
A new hygiene certification system means hospitality laundries can help the health sector amid the Covid-19 crisis. This is a welcome lifeline for the many hospitality laundries that have been hit hard by the hotel and restaurant lockdowns.

More than 30 hospitality laundries have already signed the new interim certification scheme to help the UK health and welfare system cope with the increasing amount of dirty laundry and textiles caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Demand is expected to surge in the coming weeks given the government's strategy of moving from disposable to reusable PPE garments. In the meantime, the Ministry of Health and Welfare would like to use commercial laundries to ensure that all adult care facilities have access to hygienically cleaned and safe bed linen and textiles.

The Textile Services Association (TSA), which represents the UK laundries, developed the program in consultation with NHSI (NHS Improvement) and other government departments. The Interim Healthcare Laundry Certification (IHLC) provides laundries that normally operate in the hospitality industry with a quick overview of the specific hygiene standards required by the NHS, nursing homes and other medical facilities.

"C-19 has created an unprecedented level of healthcare laundry that requires special processing," said David Stevens, TSA CEO. “At the height of this pandemic, the increase was on the order of half a million PPE garments per day. There are also uniforms, towels, bed linen and patient clothes. To cope with this, the UK needs more specialized laundries. "

Under normal circumstances, laundries wishing to serve the healthcare sector must obtain BS EN 14065 certification. This is the standard that defines the appropriate approach for managing biocontamination risks and providing functional textiles with sufficient microbiological quality. However, the urgent need for more laundry capacity due to Covid-19 led to the creation of the new Fast Track certification.

In order to receive the Interim Healthcare Laundry Certification, laundries must meet the requirements of the Ministry of Health's Technical Memorandum HTM 01-04: Decontamination of Laundry for Health and Social Services. This provides commercial laundries with a clear path to demonstrate that they are consistently decontaminating healthcare laundry and managing associated patient safety risks. The TSA has published a guidance document, Interim Healthcare Laundry Certification / Response to COVID-19, which provides detailed information on how laundries can meet these requirements.

"We want to make sure the laundry industry is ready to meet the growing needs of the healthcare sector," said Stevens. "We are delighted that so many laundries have already started the program and we expect more to follow."

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