New bid to tackle hospital superbugs

ALCOHOL rubs are to be put beside every hospital patient as part of a major drive to tackle life-threatening superbugs in a bid to save hundreds of lives.

ALCOHOL rubs are to be put beside every hospital patient as part of a major drive to tackle life-threatening superbugs in a bid to save hundreds of lives.

The campaign is aiming to save 450 lives and £140 million a year by encouraging hospital staff to clean their hands as often as possible.

It is hoped the initiative will help halt the spread of deadly superbugs, like MRSA, and other infections, which kill 5,000 patients across the country each year.

Last month The Evening Star revealed how pensioner John McBride had died from MRSA in Ipswich Hospital.

You may also want to watch:

Since then stories from other patients concerned about hygiene standards at the hospital flooded in.

Chris Dooley, chief executive (acting) said that more money was being ploughed in to improving cleanliness and bug stop stations providing alcohol rubs are currently available at the entrance to each ward.

Most Read

Staff, patients and visitors are all supposed to use the rub on entering and leaving the ward in a bid to prevent bugs from spreading.

But from next April Ipswich, along with other UK hospitals, will be expected to have the alcohol based rub between each bed.

Doctors, nurses and other medical personnel will be encouraged to use the rubs between every patient contact to cut the risk of germs spreading.

As part of the drive, patients will also be encouraged ask staff whether they have washed their hands before they are treated.

The "cleanyourhands" campaign is being launched today by the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA). It follows a successful pilot at six hospitals, where the rubs helped treble the rate of hand-cleaning by healthcare staff.

Julie Storr, the NPSA's assistant director for infection control, said the measures would save lives and cut infection rates by up to 50%.

Ms Storr said the alcohol rubs would help the busiest nurses to improve their hand hygiene - to the benefit of patients.

She said: "We know that staff are aware that they should clean their hands before and between every patient contact, but there are a mass of barriers to it happening in practice.

"A nurse in intensive care, for example, may be required to wash their hands 40 times in any one hour.'

The alcohol rubs take the form of a gel, which is rubbed into the hands. They do not require water or the use of a towel.

The Department of Health is providing extra cash to fund the campaign as part of its multi-pronged attack on hospital superbugs, unveiled earlier this year.

Do you think the bedside-based gels are a good idea? Write to us at Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter