3 March 2009
Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust has unveiled a new awareness campaign to help in its fight against healthcare acquired infections.
Called 'The gloves are off - help us beat infections', the initiative aims to increase awareness amongst patients, visitors, staff and volunteers about what they can do to help further cut the number of cases of bugs like MRSA and C. difficile.
Hundreds of specially designed posters depicting images of boxing gloves with the slogan 'Join us in our fight against infection and help knock 'em out forever' have gone up across the Trust's three hospitals. They stress the importance of using alcohol rub before entering and on leaving ward areas and encourage patients and visitors to ask staff if they believe they have not washed their hands or are bare below the elbows when providing direct clinical care.
Life sized posters of the Trust's Chief Executive, Samantha Jones, Medical Director, Dr Jonathan Kwan and Director of Nursing, Pippa Hart with the campaign's key messages, as well as floor mats have been installed in main entrances to buildings and wards.
Chief Executive Samantha Jones said: "The control and prevention of infections like MRSA and C.difficile is an important issue for patients and visitors and, by working together, we know we can further reduce the number of cases we see."
Latest figures released by the Health Protection Agency show that recent measures introduced by the Trust in its fight against infections are paying dividends. Between July and September last year, the Trust reduced the number of cases of MRSA (bacteraemia) by nearly two thirds compared to the same period in 2007. In addition, cases of C. difficile were cut by nearly 50% compared to the previous quarter.
Samantha added: "The latest figures prove that the Trust is serious about reducing the number of infections to an absolute minimum. The commitment of staff and volunteers across the Trust has helped us achieve so much, but we are not complacent and we will continue to do all we possibly can in our fight against healthcare acquired infections.
"Patients should be reassured that infection control and prevention remains the Trust's number one priority and this campaign demonstrates our continued drive to ensure our hospitals remain safe places to receive the best possible care and treatment."
As well as targeting patients and visitors, the campaign also reminds staff and volunteers of the role they have to play, especially around the need to make sure their hands are clean before and after giving direct clinical care.
The campaign also focuses on the use of gloves by staff, in particular that they should not be used as a substitute for good hand hygiene, and to only use them if they are necessary, e.g. when in contact with blood or bodily fluids, contaminated equipment or invasive devices.
Over the last eighteen months, the Trust has introduced a number of high profile measures to control and prevent infections, including:
Increasing the training given to all staff;
Daily monitoring of devices and drips;
Extending our MRSA screening programme so that we can detect and treat it quicker;
Undertaking a £300,000 deep clean of our hospitals.