PATIENTS and visitors in one of the country's main private hospitals can now reduce infection risk by simply pulling on a door handle.
The new door handle product, which is being trialled in the Mater Private Hospital in Dublin, dispenses sanitising gel on contact.
A hospital spokeswoman said that by building a dispenser into the door handle, everyone who enters an area, such as a hospital ward, uses the gel to clean their hands -- unless they make a conscious decision to avoid doing so.
It is the first hospital in Ireland to trial the Pure Hold Hygiene Handle, which was developed with NHS infection prevention specialists in the UK.
"It's been used in a number of UK hospitals where it is proving to be a useful tool . . . to control infections," she said. "It significantly reduces the risk of cross contamination via the door handles, which can be a major problem in hospitals.
"In separate independent tests the hygiene handle surface was shown to be 98.5pc cleaner than standard hospital door handles."
Ann Higgins, the hospital's infection control nurse, said: "Hand hygiene is a crucially important part of infection control. The hygiene handle is a novel and effective way of confronting staff, patients and visitors with the need for clean."