Case Study /
Robots boost hospital cleaning power
Medirest is committed to providing efficient, high-quality hospital cleaning services to create a healing environment. It’s continually looking for new ways to make the most of resources to deliver the best clean possible.
After exploring robotic cleaning technology for a couple of years, Medirest was ready to bring this innovation to the hospital environment.
The robotic technology challenge
Robotic technology focuses on mechanising and automating the scrubbing and drying process of large areas, like corridors. A main development challenge has been creating the robot’s ability to map the area to be cleaned so it would reliably cover the whole space and would be an effective addition to cleaning regimes.
A triumph in trials
Medirest partnered with specialist, Killis, to trial a market-leading robotic scrubber-drier system that typically uses 70% less water and fewer chemicals than traditional cleaning methods, perfect to help Trusts to operate more sustainably, as well as contribute towards Compass Group UK & Ireland’s Climate Net Zero targets.
Designed to support Medirest’s team of over 3,000 cleaners, each robot operates with a companion person, who complements the robot’s large-area cleaning by carrying out pre-sweeping, damp dusting of surfaces, high and low dusting and glass cleaning. This is cobiotics in action – technology that combines ‘cooperation’ with ‘robotics’.
Over the last year, three independent trials were carried out in partner hospitals to put the robots through their paces. The test teams evaluated performance against the 2021 healthcare cleaning standards, the latest good practice and infection prevention and control standards, how effective the mapping technology was, the effect on cleaning teams and public perceptions.
All the trials showed that the robot technology delivered improved productivity, quality and consistency of cleaning. In fact, experience showed that the robot focus areas demonstrated that, not only did the overall quality of the clean improve, but the area stayed at the correct level of cleanliness for longer. With the robot focusing on large area cleans, other members of the cleaning team were freed up to focus on more intricate and in-depth cleaning tasks.
The standard of robotic cleaning didn’t leave the floors overly shiny, creating instead just a hint of lustre which fits within the requirement of the national PLACE audits and doesn’t create an issue for patients with dementia or eye issues.
A personality in more than one way
The robots, named Hanzel in memory of Hanzel Gardener, a much loved Medirest colleague who did a significant amount of work in developing robotic technology for Medirest, were well received by staff, patients and visitors at all sites. They attracted a lot of positive attention and friendly curiosity, becoming something of a social media star for the hospitals, with lots of staff and visitors wanting a selfie taken with them.
Robotic cleaning benefits
- Efficient large area cleaning to high standards
- Cleanliness achieved lasts for longer
- 70% reduction in water usage
- Fewer chemicals used compared to traditional methods
- Frees up cleaning staff to focus on more in-depth tasks
- Friendly presence welcomed by all
“The robot technology has delivered improved productivity, quality, consistency of cleaning and fantastic perception from staff and visitors to the hospitals. This tech will really help our other team members focus on more intricate and in-depth cleaning, so we’re thrilled to be the first to bring this to our NHS partners.”
Anna Hallas, National Domestic Lead for Medirest
“The Trust has been very pleased with the work [the robot] has done, and it has helped to highlight the need for thorough cleaning at this time - you could almost call it an ambassador!
By releasing the staff member to undertake other touch point cleaning, the use of [the robot] has given the Trust a better standard of cleanliness within the areas used.”
Julie Dennis, Senior Soft FM Manager
Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
“I was slightly sceptical at the beginning, but the results speak for themselves. Well done for introducing us to modern cleaning!”
Maria Rana, Head of Soft FM
Royal Surrey County Hospital