DUBLIN'S Mater Private Hospital is the top hospital in Europe when it comes to clean hands.
The World Health Organisation ranking came after the hospital recently underwent the European Hand Hygiene Award Inspection.
Ann Higgins, infection control nurse at the Mater Private, will be presented with the WHO award at its headquarters in Geneva on June 25.
The human hand is the primary cause for the spread of infection in hospitals, kitchens and among the public at large, experts say. Health care acquired infections (HCAIs) infect 8-10pc of hospital inpatients in the Western world and up to 20pc of patients in the developing world.
"We're delighted that the WHO has ranked our hospital the best in Europe for hand hygiene, reflecting our commitment to being highly proactive in the area of infection prevention and control," Fergus Clancy, chief executive of Mater Private Hospital, said.
"This is a huge achievement for the hospital and I would like to congratulate all our staff, especially the infection control team, who have demonstrated huge commitment to embedding best practice at our hospital, not just in relation to hand hygiene, but to infection control generally."
Ann Higgins said they were delighted that the WHO had ranked their hospital as the best in Europe for hand hygiene.
"Hand hygiene is a crucially important part of infection prevention and we have an established rigorous training and assessment programme in place which is mandatory for all our staff," she said.
"While this intervention is seen as the gold standard in improving hand hygiene compliance, we are constantly seeking new ways to assist us in preventing hospital-acquired infection.
"The Mater Private is committed to maintaining its highly proactive approach to infection prevention and control, and its high standard of hand hygiene compliance."
The hospital says it has consistently come top in Ireland in the HSE Hand Hygiene Compliance Audit, achieving first place nationally among 44 acute hospitals since private hospitals were included.
The Mater Private recorded a compliance rate of 94.8pc for October last: the rate nationally was 84.3pc.
Almost 15,000 healthcare facilities from 150 countries worldwide have responded to the WHO Save Lives: Clean Your Hands annual campaign.
This was the first WHO Hand Hygiene Award. Mater Private was selected as one of six highest ranking finalists in Europe.