Torch relay shines a light on hand hygiene

2 September 2016

A hand hygiene torch relay will take place from King’s Mill Hospital to Mansfield Community Hospital and on to Newark Hospital on 7 September.

Inspired by the Infection Prevention Society’s (IPS) Hand Hygiene Torch Tour relay involving the transfer of a torch baton by branch members around the UK and Ireland, the Trust’s relay team will travel from King’s Mill to Mansfield Community and Newark Hospitals to highlight the importance of staff, patients and visitors washing their hands properly.

The human hand is the primary cause for the spread of infections in hospitals.

Often, bugs that a healthy immune system would deal with easily can be dangerous for vulnerable patients and, when performed correctly, hand hygiene is the single most effective, and cheapest, way to reduce the risk of hospital-acquired infections – the most well-known being those caused by meticillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Clostridium difficile (C. diff.).

Rosie Dixon, Nurse Consultant for Infection Prevention and Control at the Trust, said: “Hand hygiene is a crucially important part of infection prevention and control and we have an established rigorous training programme in place which is mandatory for all staff.

“Support from patients and visitors is also vital. Everyone should wash their hands carefully with soap and water or use antibacterial hand gel, which is available on entering hospital the when entering each ward or clinical area.”

The Trust aims to make great strides in reducing infections, including:

· The introduction of an improved hydrogen peroxide vapour system, which gives a higher level of decontamination than manual cleaning alone

· Daily cleaning solutions have been changed to compounds which are proven to be active against C. diff.

· Ensuring each ward has a thorough and regular deep clean, including every wall, floor and surface

· Enhanced staff training in ways to avoid infection.

Rosie Dixon added: “We have seen a recent improvement as a result of the many initiatives and procedures in place. However, this is an ongoing challenge and there is still much more to be done to ensure that we continually improve and minimise the risk to patients.”

If you would like to support, take part or sponsor the relay run please contact Sally Palmer, Senior Nurse for Infection Prevention and Control, on 01623 622515, extension 3525.