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General Policy
Estates, Facilities and Capital Services
Support Services Manager
Support Services Manager
Director of Estates, Facilities and Capital Services
01 February 2009
01 September 2017
01 September 2020

General Note

NHS Fife acknowledges and agrees with the importance of regular and timely review of policy/procedure statements and aims to review policies within the timescales set out.

New policies/procedures will be subject to a review date of no more than 1 year from the date of first issue.

Reviewed policies/procedures will have a review date set that is relevant to the content (advised by the author) but will be no longer than 3 years.

If a policy/procedure is past its review date then the content will remain extant until such time as the policy/procedure review is complete and the new version published, or there are national policy or legislative changes.


1.1 To ensure that adequate arrangements exist for the laundering of long stay patients’ personal clothing while they are in hospital.


2.1 Personal laundry facilities are available at the following hospitals: Queen Margaret, Victoria, Cameron, and Stratheden.

2.2 Personal laundry facilities for inpatients at Glenrothes and Randolph Wemyss Memorial Hospitals are provided at Cameron Hospital. Facilities for Adamson and St Andrew’s Memorial Hospitals are provided at Stratheden Hospital. Whyteman’s Brae Hospital should be accessed through Victoria Hospital.


3.1 Charge nurses, nursing staff, patient and relatives.


4.1 General

4.1.1 Where a patient has relatives who are able to undertake the laundering of a patient’s clothing, the relatives should take home this clothing for laundering. Staff should give a copy of the leaflet “Washing Clothes at Home”, version 2 March 2012, to the relatives of the patient.

When relatives are asked or wish to take infected clothing home these items should be placed in a water soluble patient clothing bag (white with dark orange strip and writing) accompanied by a copy of ‘Patient Clothing Bag – Patient advice sheet’.

Relatives should also be offered the opportunity to use the laundry facilities at Victoria Hospital for infected clothing.

4.1.2 All clothing to be taken home should be bagged in a patient clothing bag and retained in the patient’s locker until relatives are able to remove the clothing.

4.1.3 Heavy soil on clothing should be disposed of into toilet or sluice hopper by nursing staff then garments should be placed in a water soluble patient clothing bag inside a patient clothing bag and relatives alerted.

4.1.4 Staff should ensure that, if possible, all garments for home laundering are frequently removed by relatives.

4.2 Care of Clothing for Patients utilising the Personal Laundry Services

  • Instructions for ward staff (appendix A)
  • Instructions for relatives (appendix B)
  • “Washing clothes at home” leaflet – additional information for staff (appendix D)
  • “Patient Clothing Bag – patient advice sheet “ (if required)

4.2.1 Where a patient has no relatives to remove personal clothing for home laundering, arrangements may be made by nursing staff to have the clothing laundered by the Personal Laundry service.

4.2.2 Before using the personal laundry service, clean clothing should be sent in a patient’s clothing bag to the appropriate hospital sewing room to be labelled with the patient’s name and ward name/number.

4.2.3 Used clothing which has not been labelled should be placed in a patient clothing bag and labelled – Personal Laundry Ward X, Unmarked. These items will be returned to the ward after washing. If the patient is to remain in hospital, then the Nurse in Charge should forward these items to the hospital sewing room as soon as possible.

4.2.4 With regard to soiled and infected items, the Safe Handling of Laundry policy must be followed and the clothing forwarded to Victoria Hospital laundry.

Soiled clothing should be placed in a polythene bag, inside a white hamper. Infected clothing should be placed inside a water soluble bag, inside a polythene bag, inside a red hamper. The bags must be clearly marked ‘personal laundry’ and identify the ward name and hospital before forwarding to the Victoria Hospital laundry.

If clothes from an infected patient are returned to relatives for home laundering, these must NOT be placed in a standard water soluble bag.

4.2.5 At Queen Margaret Hospital, used labelled patient clothing should be placed in a patient clothing bag for uplift by portering staff.

At Victoria and Whyteman’s Brae Hospitals used labelled patient clothing should be placed in a clear polythene liner inside a white hamper.

At Cameron, Stratheden, Glenrothes and Randolph Wemyss Hospitals used labelled patient clothing should be placed in a patient clothing bag for uplift by portering staff

4.2.6 Any queries regarding patient personal laundry should be addressed to the following:

Midge Rotheram Support Services Manager, Central Fife
Janette Wheeler General Services Manager, West Fife
Yvonne Batehup Support Services Manager, Stratheden Hospital and north east Fife


5.1 The above policy establishes how the risk of damage, loss, and cross contamination to patients’ personal clothing will be managed to reduce risks, infection, and damage to clothing.


6.1 Appendix A: Personal laundry information for ward staff

6.2 Appendix B: Personal laundry information for patients/relatives

6.3 Appendix C: “Washing Clothes at Home” leaflet (HPS 2008)

6.4 Safe handling of laundry policy.

6.5 Loss, theft and damage policy.

6.6 Infection control manual.


7.1 Infection control manual

7.2 NHSScotland Health Protection Scotland “Washing Clothes at Home” document

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