Page last updated at 18:04 GMT, Tuesday, 1 July 2008 19:04 UK

Hand cleaning campaign under way

Rosie Collier washes her hands on a ward at Beccles Hospital
Rosie Collier heads the anti-infection campaign for the PCT

Four hospitals are to begin a campaign aimed at improving hand hygiene and reduce the risk of infections.

Great Yarmouth and Waveney PCT is adopting a "clean hands" campaign in Suffolk hospitals at Beccles, Patrick Stead in Halesworth and Southwold.

The Northgate Hospital GP unit in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, will also take part.

It will also roll out to staff in the community such as district nurses, health visitors, physiotherapists and occupational therapists.

Rosie Collier, community infection control support nurse at the Primary Care Trust (PCT), said the main aim was to stress the importance to staff of increasing the frequency and improving the efficiency of hand washing.

"Good hand hygiene is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of infection including MRSA and Clostridium difficile," she said.

"The PCT already has a good record in terms of hand hygiene, and a survey published in April showed we were in the top 20% when it comes to making hand washing materials available for staff, patients and visitors.

"The PCT has invested in more new sinks in various locations to facilitate hand washing but we know we can improve further still."

Posters, leaflets and stickers, with messages designed to encourage patients and visitors to feel comfortable in asking healthcare workers if they have cleaned their hands, are being distributed as part of the campaign.

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