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West Suffolk Hospital Joins Clean Your Hands Campaign

Date: Wednesday, June 1, 2005
Time: 9.30am
Venue: Main entrance, West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St Edmunds
Photo: Chief Executive Chris Bown launches the Clean Your Hands Campaign

West Suffolk Hospital has signed up to join the national Clean Your Hands Campaign.

The hospital has demonstrated to the campaign organiser the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) that staff take infections seriously and are committed to keeping our patients as safe and healthy as possible.

The campaign focuses on raising awareness of hand hygiene among all staff, patients and visitors and encouraging the use of alcohol handrubs. It also focuses on empowering patients to feel comfortable in asking staff if they have washed their hands prior to any procedures or interventions. Following a trial run in six hospitals NPSA found that by running this campaign, it is possible to treble the rate of hand washing within hospitals.

When staff clean their hands before and after touching each patient, it helps stop bugs like MRSA and diarrhoea and vomiting, from spreading. There are two main ways to do this:

Washing with soap and water ­ this removes germs and is best when hands are soiled.

Using disinfectant handrubs ­ these kill about 99% of germs in around 30 seconds and dry naturally on the skin. And because you donąt have to be near a sink to use them, they are also very convenient.

As part of the campaign West Suffolk Hospital is:

·         Asking members of staff to wear a "Its OK to ask" sticker which invites members of the public to ask whether they have washed their hands.

·         Alcohol handrubs at every patient’s bedside and at the entrance to every ward

·         A new system to ensure that empty bottles of handdrubs are automatically replaced

·         A new audit system to monitor the usage of handrubs in every clinical area

·         Making infection control link nurses in each clinical area responsible for continually updating and ensuring posters on hand hygiene, provided by the National Patient Safety Agency, are displayed in ward and clinical areas.

The impact of the campaign will be measured through observing staff hand hygiene behaviour, monitoring the use of alcohol handrubs, and routine surveillance of infections.

Chief Executive Chris Bown said: "Under the scheme, patients will be encouraged to ask any member of staff to wash their hands before treating them. Our staff will be happy to be asked to do this. We have signed up to the Clean Your Hands Campaign because we are committed to ensure that we attain the highest standards of hand hygiene.

"But to be successful the public also has a role to play. Put simply, if you visited a friend’s home and were asked to remove your shoes you would happily oblige. If you visit a friend or relative in your hospital you are asked to wash your hands."

Clean Your Hands Project lead and infection control nurse Jill Cerny said: "We have provided alcohol handrubs at the entrance to every ward and at every patients’ bedside. We ask that you use these handrubs whenever you visit a relative or friend in our hospital. You donąt have to ask a member of staff for permission. Just go ahead and use them each time you enter the ward.

"Please also wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before you visit the hospital and especially after you have visited the toilet. We also ask that if you are visiting a friend or relative that you refrain from doing so if you are unwell. People who are in hospital are here because they are unwell and often susceptible to picking up bugs.

"Over the next few months we will be engaging visitors to the hospital in a number of activities to get them to think about hand hygiene and how to correctly wash their hands. We will also be putting up Clean Your Hands campaign posters throughout the hospital to remind you."

To find out more about what we are doing to combat infections in hospital you can ask to speak to the hospital's infection control team or our Patient Advice and Liaison Service. (PALS). Infection control can be contacted on 01284 713688. PALS can be contacted on 01284 712555.


Further information about the NPSA Clean Your Hands Campaign can be found at

1st June 2005



West Suffolk Hospitals NHS Trust