SURF Workshop 28 February 2012

Maria Cann and Helen Bronstein attended the SURF Workshop in London. Updates were given on the activities of the charity, including the work on the NICE topic selection workshop and Helen's involvement with the student from Guys and St Thomas's hospital on public and patient involvement in healthcare. Helen was also involved in giving the patient perspective on making information easy to understand on a real time surveillance system analysing trends in healthcare associated infections across the country. The Infection Radar proposal has been supported by a 2 million pound grant from the Health Innovation Challenge Fund, information about the fund can be found on the Wellcome Trust's website at

Heather Loveday presented findings from research on the appropriate use of surgical gloves. The study highlighted some thought provoking findings. During observations 41.5% of healthcare workers were observed to be using gloves appropriately, 39% could have used the gloves at appropriate opportunities but didn't. Healthcare workers thought the observations were to assess hand hygiene, and the 'halo' effect of being observed showed good compliance with hand hygiene.

The researchers want to know what patients think about the use of gloves, how does it make them feel? A general discussion took place and it was felt that patients need knowledge, and need to understand when it's appropriate to wear gloves too. Bart's and the London Hospital had costed the use of gloves at a million pounds a year; they were changing the placement of the stations for gloves with a systematic approach to their use. There was a discussion on the unpublished research conducted by Dr Peter Wilson on the higher microbial load on certain types of gloves, which can transfer more micro-organisms than bare hands.

There were opportunities for patients to be involved in the research. This could include hosting online surveys with the patient groups and taking part in a short telephone survey, anyone interested in taking part can contact Maria Cann or Helen Bronstein if they wish to be involved.

Alison Tingle gave an update on the SURF education project. There had been a considerable amount of interest in the patient-led research on the education of post graduate students from institutions teaching healthcare. Martin Kiernan from the Healthcare Infection Society wishes to adapt the questions to fit their curriculum for training healthcare professionals. The University West of London are using their simulation centre to train student nurses. Observations on all aspects of care take place, including infection control, after the simulation feedback is given. SURF members will be involved in the simulation, which will include some opportunities for the healthcare workers to test their ability to challenge poor practice. The research includes the use of questionnaires which give multiple choice options to different scenarios, the questionnaires also test the confidence that students have in their answers and their depth of knowledge and understanding why they choose the answers. There will be two sessions in the simulation centre in May and SURF members will be volunteer patients.

Mary Rose Tarpey, from INVOLVE spoke about medical ethics in research and the need for public involvement and Professor Heather Loveday and Olivia Freeman gave an update on the patient experience of MRSA screening study and the Green Badge project.