Patients and staff in Sassoon General Hospital are facing difficulties as three of the four washing machines there are not functional, and the growing pile of unwashed clothes is raising health concerns.
Sassoon’s laundry staff wash around 1,000 pieces of soiled linen each day, but after the machines stopped working, they have been forced to compromise on clothes worn and used by hospital personnel and patients.
While two machines developed a problem on Saturday, another has not been working for three months.
“Two of the machines have stopped working since Saturday afternoon. Clothes from the maternity ward and operation theatres are given top priority. Some bundles of stained clothes are lying here since Saturday,” said laundry staffer Ramesh Ghodke.
No hot water
Anil Gaikwad, who is laundry in-charge at Sassoon, said that the machines are over 28 years old and need to be replaced rather than repaired.
“One machine has not been working since the past three months and the water boilers are not functioning since 2008,” Gaikwad said.
He added that for the past four years, his staff has been washing soiled clothes in cold water instead of hot water, which is unhygienic.
Another major issue he highlighted is the irregular supply of washed linen to all the wards.
Hospital linen soiled with infectious body fluids or blood should be sterilised in 22 to 50 degrees Celsius water and bleached for about half an hour, but this cannot be done because the boilers are not working.
“The machines can break down at any time and will be repaired soon. As far as I know, there has been no problem of unhygienic or unwashed clothes in any of the wards. Our washermen are tackling the problem very efficiently and supply is quite normal,” said Sassoon Hospital dean Dr Ajay Chandanwale.