Scotland's national handwash campaign scrapped

17th of September 2013
Scotland's national handwash campaign scrapped

A national campaign in Scotland to ensure that NHS hospital staff regularly wash their hands is being scrapped.

But one in 10 doctors are claimed to be still failing to meet the required hand hygiene standards.

A national system of checks on the hand washing habits of frontline workers was launched in 2007 and the results have been published every two months. It was brought in by the Scottish government along with other measures to tackle hospital infections amid the rise of superbugs such as MRSA.

Since then there has been a decrease in the spread of healthcare-associated infections and compliance with hand washing rules has improved significantly.

The first audit, conducted in February 2007, found the level of compliance across staff groups nationally to be only 68 per cent whereas the latest audit in May this year found 98 per cent of nurses following the correct procedures. However, adherence among medical staff was just 90 per cent - a two per cent reduction since March this year.

Now the Scottish Government has announced it is dismantling the national programme and putting health boards in charge of the monitoring and reporting of hand hygiene compliance.

A Scottish government spokesman said: "Monitoring of hand hygiene will continue and the results, including those of staff groups, will be published and open for scrutiny.

"Boards are still expected to follow a zero tolerance approach to non-compliance with hand hygiene policy and take appropriate action against individuals or groups that are not meeting high standards."


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