Doctors 'worst' at basic hand hygiene
Nearly one in four doctors fails to clean their hands between patients -- increasing the risk of passing on potentially life-threatening infection, a damning report revealed yesterday.
The survey of hand hygiene in 36 acute hospitals revealed that doctors were the worst offenders (61pc) and that, overall, nearly three in 10 staff were not following the basic rule of infection control.
Hand hygiene is central in reducing the chances of passing on an infectious disease such as MRSA and C difficile.
The snapshot survey, commissioned by the HSE, found that nurses were the most consistent in cleaning their hands, with 81.1pc either washing with soap and water or using sanitiser between patients.
But other staff, including therapists, cleaners and porters were also putting patients in danger with over four in 10 failing to clean their hands.
The worst offenders are: Galway University Hospital (61.6pc); the Mater Hospital in Dublin (62.5pc); Wexford General Hospital (66.1pc) and Portiuncula Hospital (63.5pc).
The best hospitals are: Louth County Hospital (95.2pc); Waterford Regional Hospital (90.5pc); St James, Dublin, (90.1pc); Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown (90.1pc); the Coombe Women's Hospital (88.1pc) and Sligo General Hospital (84.8pc).
Dr Kevin Kelleher, HSE director of health protection, said compliance was lowest in the HSE West. He added: "Improvement must be a priority."
Staff need to clean their hands not just after examining the patients but also after touching the area around them such as their bed.
Dr Kelleher said the HSE had set a target of 74.7pc compliance with hand hygiene and this should rise to 90pc by 2013.