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Last Updated: Monday, 15 August 2005, 02:17 GMT 03:17 UK
'Many-layered apron' may cut MRSA
Staff wearing aprons
Staff currently have to change aprons between patients
An apron with layers that can be peeled away like an onion could be a simple way of cutting hospital infections, according to the doctor who devised it.

Kuldeep Bangal, a London trauma surgeon designed the apron so that, as each layer is torn off, a fresh one is ready underneath.

Staff currently have to change their single-layered aprons between patients, which can be time-consuming.

Miss Bangal says her version would be much easier to use.

It's multi-layered, like an onion, so you pull off the top layer and are left with the layers underneath
Kuldeep Bangal, Apron inventor

The apron is one of the entries into this year's Medical Futures Innovations Awards, due to be announced later this year.

Miss Bangal said the apron she has designed would have 10 layers, including the base, so that it was not too thick for people to move around in.

There would be one neck and one back tie, then a layered front bib, attached by tabs

She says it is based on the same principle as putting alcohol gels at the end of patients' beds to reduce the need for staff to walk to and from a basin in between each patient.

'Easier' to be hygienic'

Miss Bangal, who has patented her idea and prepared a prototype, said: "Staff compliance can be a real problem.

"It's not that staff aren't concerned about hospital infection.

"But it can take 40 seconds to take an apron off and put another one on.

"For someone like a phlebotomist [who takes blood], or a nurse moving from patient to patient in an intensive care unit, that can take up a lot of time.

"It works out at around five minutes for every 10 patients."

She said hospitals currently had apron-dispensers - but these could be away from patients, or empty, and staff may not have time to seek out new supplies.

Miss Bangal added: "The alcohol gels show if something is easier to do, more people will do it, and infection rates will come down.

"This apron is using that precise principle.

"It's multi-layered, like an onion, so you pull off the top layer and are left with the layers underneath."

Miss Bangal said it was known that clothes, such as nurses' uniforms could carry infections.

But she said it was not known how much of a risk the presence of a bug such as methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureas on a cuff actually was, and whether it could get into a wound from clothing.

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