A care assistant working in a surgical ward noticed that the cleaners attended to clean the bathroom off a small ward. They were in and out so quickly that they could not have cleaned it properly, but the chart had been signed.
The care assistant knew the importance of cleanliness, particularly as patients on the ward had recently had surgery. They reported this to their ward manager who thanked the care assistant, and they discussed how they should proceed. The manager suggested taking the concerns through the whistleblowing procedure, to ensure the care assistant got support and that the situation was looked into.
When the manager recorded the concern at stage 1 of the whistleblowing procedure, they identified similar reports from other wards, and were concerned that this issue was more widespread. They escalated the issue to stage 2, with a wider investigation into cleaning.
The investigation was carried out by the board’s contract and procurement team. At the start of the investigation they reviewed the available records and planned their investigation. This allowed them to provide the care assistant and their manager with anticipated timescales for the completion of the process.
The investigation identified issues with lack of staffing, despite adequate funding being provided through the contract. They therefore contacted the Counter Fraud Services, who expressed an interest in the case, and took forward their own investigation.
The care assistant was kept informed of the board’s investigation, but beyond their initial discussion and statement on what they observed, they had no further involvement with the investigation. When the board’s investigation was concluded, the care assistant and their manager were given full responses that thanked them for raising the issues and highlighted the benefits for patients that their actions had, both in relation to cleaning and in contract management. The care assistant is also signposted to the INWO if they do not think that this concern has been resolved.