Launch of Bedford Hospital's Hand Hygiene Awareness Week 2009

Bedford Hospital lead the way on World MRSA Day

2nd October 2009

Chief Executive, Jean O'Callaghan and s
taff at Bedford Hospital are leading the way and supporting MRSA Action UK in promoting the very first World MRSA Day.  The day was chosen together with patient advocates in the USA because of its significance in the discovery of MRSA under the microscope at Colindale Laboratories in London on  the 2nd October 2009.  First viewed by the late Professor Jevons on this day it was not long before the bacteria had started to evolve and spread in hospitals in the UK and in the USA.  Now with MRSA presenting a global pandemic, governments and healthcare professionals need to act to halt the rise in the numbers of people affected and who sadly die from avoidable healthcare infections. The NHS is leading the fight back to reduce the numbers of people who contract MRSA bloodstream infections, which account for only 6.8% of infections in the UK, whilst nationally the picture looks good, the great results have been largely achieved from the efforts of 25% of Trusts, so the good practice needs to spread to halt the rise in people affected.

Bedford Hospital launched it's annual infection awareness week on Monday with keynote speeches from Janice Stevens who is leading the Cleaner Hospital's programme in the UK, and MRSA Action UK's Chair Derek Butler.

Janice said "I am pleased with the very considerable progress the NHS has made in reducing the number of MRSA bloodstream infections in the past few years.  Of course, we must keep the pressure up to ensure that we maintain this progress and instill a zero tolerance attitude to avoidable infections.  Working together is key to delivering this, and I am grateful to patient groups such as MRSA Action UK for the valuable work that they do, and I look forward to continuing to work with them"

The week will raise awareness with staff, patients and the public about the importance of hand hygiene and has some novel ways of helping to remind everyone about the need to keep preventing infections from the bugs we all carry on our skin from harming patients.


During the launch, staff helped with showing how to wash hands effectively using light boxes to highlight areas that were missed.  Derek passed the test with flying colours, he paid extra attention to his nails, although he was told the reason nail brushes are not used now is because of the lesions they can leave on the skin, keeping the skin moisturised is also an important role that healthcare workers have to pay attention to, any cracks or lesions can harbour bacteria.
Chordination the barber-shop quartet have a novel way of reminding people to wash their hands, they sang a rendition of "Wash your grubby hand" to the tune of "Catch a falling star".  Staff and patients loved it.  Finger paintings, mime artists and colleagues greeted staff, visitors and patients giving useful information to reinforce the message.  Derek's presentation focussed on leadership, to download a copy click here
Juliet and her team will be distributing leaflets, posters and awareness ribbons from MRSA Action UK to help remind patients and staff about the importance of infection prevention and control and hand hygiene, and letting everyone know the significance of the date October 2nd.

The timing of the programme of planned events will link in with Infection Awareness Week, commencing 18th October, this is supported by organisations around the world including the Infection Prevention Society.

Other events where MRSA Action UK will be reminding everyone of the significance of the day will take place throughout October, this will include community hospitals and care homes, the fight to reduce the burden of bacteria in the community is also key.  MRSA Action UK will be promoting the judicial use of antibiotic prescribing and continuing to provide information and education to the public.  November 18th is World Antibiotic Awareness Day and this links with the next campaign to raise awareness through E-Bug, a new educational programme for children (and their families).

MRSA Action UK

Telephone: 07762 741114


Hand Hygiene Awareness Week: Preventing Hospital Infections - It's in Your Hands - 25/9/2009

VISITORS, patients and staff will have the opportunity to find out how clean hands stop infection and save lives during Bedford Hospital's annual hand hygiene awareness week, which begins on Monday (September 28).

The start of the week will see hospital visitors, staff and patients invited to take part in activities in the hospital's reception areas, including opportunities to test their hand washing technique. Some unusual guests will also be handing out information on hand hygiene and a barbershop quartet will be visiting wards singing familiar songs with a hand hygiene twist!

A key-note speech will be made by Janice Stevens, national director for the healthcare associated infections programme (Department of Health). Derek Butler, chair of MRSA Action UK, a charity set up to support patients, families and carers affected by MRSA, will also address staff.

Throughout the week staff will have the opportunity to attend additional infection control training sessions and clinical lectures on preventing and reducing the spread of infection.

Friday, October 2 is the first ever world MRSA day, which the hospital is supporting.

Chief Executive, Jean O'Callaghan, said: "We are very proud of our recent record in preventing and reducing healthcare associated infections including MRSA and Clostridium difficile, and firmly believe that any infection is an infection too many.

"We recently had an eight month period with no MRSA bacteraemia (blood stream) infections, which was a fantastic achievement, and we are continually striving to improve our performance.

"During the past two years we have undertaken a huge amount of work to increase and improve our infection control practices, isolation facilities and education and awareness among staff, visitors and patients. We have also introduced universal MRSA screening, meaning we are able to identify, isolate and treat patients colonized with MRSA.

"Hand hygiene is a crucial part of reducing infection and ensuring a safe environment for patients, which is why this awareness week is so important."

Lead Nurse for Infection Control, Juliet Magee, said: "Hand hygiene awareness week combines entertaining but educational activities for patients and visitors with education, awareness and development sessions for staff.

"Good hand hygiene is the most important weapon in fighting infection - clean hands really do save lives."

Visit the Bedford Hospital website to see the excellent work going on there