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When you gotta go, you gotta go

Bild: Lokalvårdare städar handfat. Foto: Magnus Johansson

When healthcare is given priority, other goods get stuck in transport. At the same time, we have to be extra conscientious about hygiene, while folk are returning to campus in increasing numbers. The result – shortages of consumables, and closed toilets.

We take toilet paper, soap and paper towels for granted. Until the day they’re not there. Then we’re really in deep water. And we have to start closing toilets to make sure the limited supplies we do have are enough.

“All through the spring, we’ve been worried about having enough consumables for the toilets”, says Sofie Alexandersson, head of the Cleaning Services Office. “It’s also true for cleaning agents and disposable gloves. Things have become slightly easier, but it’s still the case that everyone who does not absolutely have to be on campus must stay at home.”

Bild: Toapappersrulle. Foto: Charlotte PerhammarThe supply problems have several causes. Swedish manufacturers are working as fast as they can, but the healthcare sector has been given priority for these items. Import and export restrictions have led to many goods getting stuck in the Port of Gothenburg. At the same time, people are worried about becoming infected, and the demands placed on hygiene and cleaning have increased. 

“And we can’t just buy any paper in the shops”, says Sofie Alexandersson. “It has to fit the holders we have. The idea has been raised that people bring their own toilet paper to campus. But we’re worried that this will lead to blockages. Different types of paper have different fibres, and if you flush the wrong type of paper, it can cause blockages. So we said: ‘No – don’t bring your own paper to campus!’”

The Cleaning Services Office has increased the frequency of cleaning in the toilets and in other areas where there is a large risk of infection spreading. The personnel change also gloves often to reduce the risk. This also causes an increase in the consumption of supplies.

“And we have seen that increasing numbers are finding their way back to campus, both students and co-workers”, says Sofie Alexandersson. “On one occasion, the personnel counted 250 people on a single floor of Studenthuset. This leads to an increased anxiety about the spread of infection among the cleaning personnel.”

Region Östergötland has enquired whether LiU can lend them cleaning personnel, who are urgently needed in the healthcare system.

“But the risk of infection is greater when working in healthcare, and we are keen to keep our personnel healthy”, says Sofie Alexandersson.

Locking toilets and posting a note on the door to explain why has been one way to make the supplies last longer. This has, however, not been enough. Some toilet doors have been unlocked – maybe someone wanted to get access to a personal toilet. 

“We have now removed paper and soap from the locked toilets, to have enough for the open toilets. So it’s not a good idea to use the locked toilets”, Sofie Alexandersson.

“The situation has improved”, Sofie Alexandersson continues. “But we still have not got any confirmed deliveries before June. I can’t imagine that the university management has ever discussed or analysed the toilet paper on campus before. But at the moment – it has high priority in our emergency meetings.”


Text: Elisabet Wahrby
Photo: Magnus Johansson och Charlotte Perhammar
Translated by George Farrants


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Last updated: 2020-05-11