Health board taking further steps for hand hygiene

NHS Western Isles is taking steps to ensure that all hand hygiene gel dispensers are located as close to the point of care as possible, in line with best practice guidelines.

National research has demonstrated that hand hygiene on entry to hospitals does not effectively protect patients from infection. Dispensers at entry points to hospitals can also potentially result in people not using the dispensers within or outside ward areas, as people think that when they have used it on entry to the hospital, they do not need to wash their hands again. This can place patients at an unnecessary risk of exposure to infection.

The decision has therefore been taken to locate all gel dispensers within Western Isles hospitals at the closest point of contact to the patient (i.e. outside all of the wards/bays and at each bedside). Hand hygiene gel dispensers will no longer be located at any of the entry points to hospitals, in line with good practice and to ensure patients are protected at all times.

NHS Western Isles Nurse Director/Chief Operating Officer Nigel Hobson stated: “NHS Western Isles has a consistently good record in hand hygiene, and the recent measures have been introduced to improve our standards further and ensure that patients are protected from infection.

“Good hand hygiene is widely recognised as the single most important factor in reducing the spread of healthcare associated infection. By ensuring that our staff, patients and visitors are aware of what they can do to help will hopefully get across the message that infection control is everyone’s business.”