Hospital staff take up the baton for good hand hygiene

Hospital staff will be promoting good hand hygiene in a novel way next week as they take part in a torch relay with a difference.

Staff from Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust will be taking part in the 2016 Hand Hygiene Torch Tour. Organised by the Infection Prevention Society, the tour is aimed at highlighting the importance of good hand hygiene to both healthcare staff and the public.

The torch has been touring the UK since 5th May, with healthcare organisations and NHS Trusts across the country each being designated a ‘link day’ to hold the torch before passing it on to another health body.

The torch will be passed to Greta Johnson, Lead Nurse for Infection Prevention and Control at the Trust, on Monday 19th September, and as it will be received from colleagues on the south bank at Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals NHS Trust, where better to make the changeover than on the Humber Bridge?

Greta says:

“The torch relay is a novel way of taking the good hand hygiene message across the country and reinforcing the importance of hygiene for both healthcare staff and members of the public.

“As we start to approach winter, we will start to see more viruses like flu or Norovirus, the diarrhoea and vomiting bug, circulating in the community. Both of these viruses can be caught by touching contaminated surfaces and can leave otherwise healthy people feeling very poorly for several days.

“More crucially, if these kinds of virus are caught by people who are already unwell or have low immune systems, like a lot of people in hospital, it can be very dangerous or even potentially fatal.

“Good hand hygiene is as important outside hospital as it is in hospital, and it’s important that hands are washed; simply using alcohol gel is not enough to get rid of dirt and germs effectively.

“Clinical staff in our hospitals are taught about the ‘five moments’ of hand hygiene and trained in thorough handwashing techniques, but as viruses can easily be brought into hospital by visitors, it’s important for members of the public to know how they can also help us to protect vulnerable people, and handwashing is a key part of this.”

Greta adds:

“It’s quirky, but we felt it was important to take part in the torch relay to show how seriously we take infection prevention and control at Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, and as a means of promoting the role of thorough handwashing in keeping people fit and healthy.”

The IPS Hand Hygiene Torch will be handed over to representatives of Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust from Northern Lincolnshire & Goole Hospitals NHS Trust staff at approx. 12:30pm on Monday 19th September on the Humber Bridge. On Tuesday 20th September, the baton will be passed on from hospital staff to representatives of City Health Care Partnership.

For more information on the IPS Hand Hygiene Torch Tour, visit www.ips.uk.net