Not all trusts will have carried out a 'deep clean' of their hospitals by Monday's deadline, HSJ can reveal.
All NHS hospitals were told by the government to complete a deep clean by the end of this month as part of efforts to tackle superbugs.
A snapshot survey carried out by HSJ indicated nearly 18 per cent will not meet the deadline.
Sevenout of 39 acute and foundation trusts that responded confirmed their deep-cleaning programme would not be finished by the deadline. An eighth trust was unsure.
Others, who said they were confident they would meet the target, revealed cleaning staff would be working right up to the deadline.
The Dudley Group of Hospitals trust said only a quarter of its wards would have been deep cleaned by 31 March.
A trust spokeswoman said the programme had taken longer than expected.
"This is due to the trust following a developed plan, which seeks to maintain a safe and available working capacity while the deep clean is taking place," she said.
The process should be finished "early in the next financial year", she added.
The Christie Hospital foundation trust said 75 per cent of all clinical areas would be deep cleaned by the end of the month.
It said 90 per cent would be done by the end of April and the remaining 10 per cent after refurbishment work was completed.
"The delays are due to the quality and availability of specialist contractors as well as our plannedrefurbishment programme," it said in a statement.
Swindonand Marlborough trust, which runs theGreatWesternHospital, said it would not be finished but had prioritised inpatient areas.
"We are taking great care with the clean and ensuring we're doing it to a very high standard," said a spokesman.
The Department of Heath said it was not prepared to comment on the fact that some hospitals will not have completed deep cleans before the official deadline.
A spokeswoman said the DH would make a formal statement on nationwide progress and the next steps on Monday.
Some strategic health authorities say they will publish detailed breakdowns of how trusts have done.