Cleaning Robots to Support NHS Hospitals Across the UK

Posted by Edward Jonkler on August 9, 2021

Medirest, the healthcare division of Compass Group UK and Ireland, has introduced 12 brand new cleaning robots to support several NHS hospitals across the UK. The special technology has been manufactured by leading robotics company Lionsbot in Singapore, and three of the robots have been successfully trialled within Medirest partner hospitals for over a year now.

The friendly-looking robots have been designed by Medirest in collaboration with cleaning innovation specialists, Killis. The robots are ideally suited to cleaning large open areas in hospitals and will support Medirest’s team of over 3,000 cleaners by enhancing repetitive cleaning procedures in open spaces such as corridors (i.e. mopping) which will free up other team members to focus on touch point areas and cross infection hotspots. This will form the perfect ‘cobotics’ relationship, a term coined by Medirest!

Used to support human employees, cleaning robots eliminate the need for workers to perform many labour intensive and repetitive tasks and allow them to focus more on complex, thought-intensive tasks. These robots are revolutionising the future of cleaning, eliminating the need for human cleaning staff to perform time-consuming tasks day after day. The robots are not intended to replace human cleaners, but to act as their assistants. They help to speed up the cleaning tasks while delivering greater cleaning consistency.

As well as supporting us with cleanliness standards, the useful robots are designed to support the environment too. They are built with a special scrubber dryer system which typically uses 70% less water and fewer chemicals than traditional cleaning methods. This will also contribute towards Compass Group UK & Ireland’s Climate Net Zero targets.

Currently, the robots are helping out in several UK hospitals including Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and University College London Hospitals NHS Trust. Unsurprisingly many more hospitals across the UK have signed up to use the technology and gain their own robot cleaners, currently exclusive to Medirest.

The National Domestic Lead for Medirest Anna Hallas commented that after trials with three different hospitals, the Medirest team came to the same conclusion that the technology has ‘delivered improved quality, consistency of cleaning and a fantastic reaction from staff and visitors to the hospitals.’ The key point being that the technology has helped other members of cleaning staff to focus on the more intricate and in-depth cleaning that the technology wouldn’t be able to do. As visibility and transparency of cleaning methods, and staff members, is absolutely vital to confidence for the public post-pandemic, the use of highly efficient and modern robot technology to assist the efficient team of cleaners that work so hard to keep our hospitals clean every day will no doubt have a positive impact on the confidence of cleanliness and hygiene standards in hospitals.
Steven Cenci, Managing Director, Compass Group UK & Ireland Healthcare said: “The pandemic has brought recognition for the amazing work our people do in helping to keep hospitals across the country clean. The introduction of the cleaning robots will further support this work, and we’re looking forward to introducing more with our partners over the coming months.” 
Tibor Killi, Managing Director of Killis said: “We are absolutely delighted that Medirest share our belief and vision that robotics can play a key role in the day to day cleaning of a hospital environment. Robotics are changing the way we clean and we are proud to be such an active part in supporting the NHS and medical sector. Killis has invested many years of research and development in cleaning machine robotics and we believe our range of robots are the best cobotic to ease human-intensive cleaning for workforces with efficient technologies that really work.”

These new healthcare robots are perhaps proof that the world of cleaning and hygiene has changed forever thanks to the pandemic. With these as a key example, COVID-19 has meant that product manufacturers that collaborate with expert third parties to unlock scientific understanding have helped to fast-track effective solutions that will inspire public confidence, as well as provide efficient cleaning practices.

The pandemic drove extensive research across the globe into the nature of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, with scientists working to understand its survival on various materials and in different environments, and the viruses transferability to humans. 

This new research, combined with the general public’s heightened awareness of hygiene, has create a fertile environment for ground-breaking innovation in the world of cleaning strategies.  

In a moving tribute, the first robot has been named in memory of Medirest colleague Hanzel Gardener who sadly lost his life during the Covid-pandemic. Hanzel did a significant amount of work in developing robotic technology for the organisation and was a much loved member of the Medirest team.

These robots are almost certainly the first in an army of new cleaning technologies making their way into our lives, first in hospitals, but undoubtedly other public spaces sooner rather than later.

Read more about the Killis robots here.