Clean hands campaign at hospital

HANDWASHING came under the spotlight – and the UV light – at Ipswich Hospital today as staff and visitors took part in the official launch of a new national initiative.

HANDWASHING came under the spotlight – and the UV light – at Ipswich Hospital today as staff and visitors took part in the official launch of a new national initiative.

The Cleanyourhands campaign is a government initiative being introduced at hospitals up and down the country to highlight the importance of hand hygiene.

It aims to make sure that there is alcohol gel available by every patients' bed and that wards are clearly labelled with signs encouraging people to wash their hands.

The campaign is also designed to encourage people to speak up if they see someone who has not washed their hands and to urge people not to be scared to ask staff if they have washed theirs.

At the launch at the hospital today visitors and staff were able to see how dirty their hands were by placing them under a special UV light which highlighted dirty patches – illustrating that even when hands appear clean to the naked eye this is not always the case.

With thousands of people entering the hospital every day, the Cleanyourhands campaign aims to highlight how everyone can play a part in making a difference.

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Annie Newton, senior nurse specialist in infection control at the trust, said: "Hand hygiene is recognised as the most common way of passing organisms on from one place or one person to another. Some of those organisms could result in infection given the right circumstances. We know from studies that have been done when there are awareness campaigns the rate of hand washing goes up. We think this is a brilliant way to focus on compliance."

Hygiene and infection control procedures at Ipswich Hospital came under the spotlight earlier this year after 36-hour-old baby Luke Day died from MRSA.

It is still not known how he contracted the bug but a team of experts are currently in the hospital undertaking a detailed review.

Their findings are expected to be published at the end of June.

Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust chairman Christine Smart said: "This is not just about clean hands, it's about clean wards and clean corridors. We are very saddened by events earlier this year and we are determined to never let it happen again. Today is a great new start."

Susie Barker, modern matron for general and special surgery: "This is going back to basics. Cleaning your hands is the epitome of infection control and it's trying to get that across to the staff, patients and their visitors. It's making everyone in patient care aware and getting them to wash their hands."

What do you think of the campaign? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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