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Last Updated: Monday, 10 March 2008, 18:02 GMT
NHS wards trial hand-wash device
Student nurse Emma Kemp and member of the public, Marion Aikman
Student nurse Emma Kemp helps Marion Aikman use the device
Ultra-violet light boxes have been trialled in two wards in NHS Lothian to encourage staff and visitors to wash their hands properly.

UV "Glo Boxes" are being piloted in wards 108 and 208 at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh as part of NHS Lothian's hand hygiene campaign.

The project could soon be rolled out across other wards in NHS Lothian with similar trials taking place.

An alcohol rub is applied before the hands are put under the UV light box.

Six student nurses staffed the boxes at the entrance to each ward during visiting hours on Wednesday to ensure all employees and visitors cleaned their hands sufficiently.

When people wash their hands they often miss large areas without realising, in particular their thumbs, webs of fingers or the backs of their hands
Ann McQueen
National Hand Hygiene Campaign

The ultra-violet rays highlight the parts of the hand covered by the gel, in order to spot areas which have been missed.

The project aims to raise awareness and educate staff and visitors on the appropriate use and technique of alcoholic hand rub.

Good hand washing skills are known to be effective at reducing acquisition and transmission of many bacteria and viruses which can cause illness such as food poisoning, sore throats, colds, and cold sores.

Ann McQueen, local health board coordinator for the National Hand Hygiene Campaign, said: "When people wash their hands they often miss large areas without realising, in particular their thumbs, webs of fingers or the backs of their hands.

"The aim of the boxes is to show people how to wash their hands properly, and to help make good hand hygiene a part of their regular routine."



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