A former cleaner at a hospital forced to step up its hygiene regime after a spike in Covid cases has launched an employment tribunal claiming she was unfairly dismissed for raising concerns.

Linda Anderson, a former domestic assistant at University Hospital Wishaw, claims she was forced to resign after whistleblowing about cleaning issues during the pandemic.

The 41-year-old, from Wishaw, worked for private contractor Serco which provides cleaning services at the North Lanarkshire Hospital.

Earlier this week, NHS Lanarkshire revealed it had discovered lapses in the cleaning programme at the hospital and had been forced to close a number of wards to new admissions.

An internal review found that “not all of the enhanced cleaning processes put in place as a result of the pandemic were still being carried out to the fullest extent”, but the health board claimed that this had now been rectified.

Serco said it refuted the tribunal claim and added that it follows “all the appropriate cleaning protocols and procedures” at the hospital.

Papers lodged at the tribunal claim that Ms Anderson raised concerns with her manager in August this year.

In them, Ms Anderson states: “I worked as a domestic at Wishaw Hospital. I was forced to resign after passing information to my employer and NHS staff about Covid-19 risks.

“My manager… was angry that I had told NHS staff that they had signed off the wrong ward room as having been sanitised for Covid-19 when it had not.

“My manager told me that I should not have disclosed this to NHS staff. 

“She then signed the correct room off herself and gave me a sheet of paper and dictated my resignation.”

The Herald has also spoken to another domestic worker at the hospital, who asked not to be named, who claimed she had also raised concerns.

The employee claims she was told to clean Covid-hit areas and then move on to “clean” areas, including in the hospital’s neonatal unit.

Serco said its protocol is that cleaners stay in the same area and “would not go from cleaning a Covid ward to cleaning another part of the hospital”.

However, the worker said: “I’ve been questioning the fact that we were being asked to do these deep cleans in Covid rooms then we were being asked to do cleans in neonatal or maternity wards. It’s not right.

“We’re told to change our aprons, our gloves and our masks, but, to me, there’s still a risk.

“I told my manager I feel it’s not right.”

In a statement issued earlier this week, Heather Knox, NHS Lanarkshire chief executive, said: "We are working hard to do everything we can to minimise the level of infection at the hospital.

"To ensure we leave no stone unturned as we work to reduce disruption to patients and services, this will include a thorough review through our clinical review procedure."

A spokesman for Serco said: “Serco is committed to supporting University Hospital Wishaw in their actions to tackle Covid-19 and provide all the enhanced cleaning asked of us during the pandemic. 

“We follow all appropriate protocols and procedures and have always provided the high standard of cleaning expected.”