On Saturday (31 May), Serco at Derriford Hospital will celebrate two years of top marks for its cleaning service.
This follows 24 consecutive months of daily, weekly and monthly joint audits by Serco and the hospital, which gave the service the top rating. The audits scored an average of 99% against some extremely tough standards.
Every year Serco carries out an average of 2,000 audits. In addition to everyday cleaning, it completes roughly 3,300 very-high-risk and 1,900 high-risk cleans to prevent the risk of infection spreading from one patient to another or to staff.
Led by the hospital's infection control team, Derriford has one of the lowest rates of C. difficile of any hospital in the country - down by 80% from 160 cases in 2008/9 to 34 last year (2013/14). It also cut MRSA rates from two cases a day in 2003/4 to two a month in 2013/14.
One of the advanced techniques that Serco uses to reduce the risk of infection is called fogging. This uses hydrogen peroxide vapour to disinfect rooms and surfaces and kill micro-organisms such as bacteria, viruses and fungi.
Cleaning staff also use microfibre cloths and mops, which are much more effective than standard versions.
Serco partnership director Nick Pugh said: "We are committed to helping the infection control team and the Trust to maintain high standards at the hospital and to making patients feel safe and comfortable in clean surroundings."
The company employs 650 staff at Derriford in cleaning, catering, portering and on a helpdesk. Domestic workers clean at least 700 toilets up to three times a day, making an average of 12,600 cleans every week. The helpdesk takes an average of 11,000 calls a month and catering staff deliver an average of 59,200 patient meals each month.