According to an investigation by the Dagens Nyheter newspaper (DN), only seven of Sweden’s 53 biggest hospitals adhere to the national guidelines, which suggest at least two toilet cleanings a day.
“If a department is open seven days then of course it should be cleaned seven days. Today we have very short ward times and many sick patients,” Mall Kriisa, hygiene doctor and author of the guideline for Swedish company hygiene, told DN.
Some hospitals were found to clean the toilets only once a day and even as little as five days a week.
Compared with petrol stations, fast food chains, and airports, the hospitals bathroom hygiene is falling behind. DN reports that Statoil’s policy is to clean the toilets every three hours.
Hygiene in a hospital is extremely important, according to Kriisa, who explained that the public toilets in hospitals are an indication of the patient safety.
Some hospitals around the country have been previously hit by diseases that have spread due to poor hygiene.
The Ryhov Hospital in Jönköping only cleans the toilets once a day, despite the fact that hundreds of visitors use the premises daily. The hospital was hit by a bacteria outbreak in summer.
For now, authorities are investigating how to ensure the guidelines are followed.
“We’re doing what we can to put this knowledge into practice,” Michael Soop, medical officer at the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen), told DN.
“The first thing is to ask the county council management what focus they have on cleaning. Next year we hope to follow up if the guidelines are being followed.”