Hospital hygiene fears

Is the NHS fit for purpose?
Is the NHS fit for purpose?

Almost 60 per cent of Greater Manchester people don’t know how to wash their hands properly when visiting hospital.

The worrying statistic was issued as hygiene concerns continue for superbugs on our wards and the infecting of patients with seasonal illnesses.

A YouGov poll, commissioned by TEAL Patents, found 82 per cent of people in Greater Manchester would wash their hands upon entering a hospital. Only 57 per cent said they would prefer to use hand gels rather than soap and water, a finding which may suggest that many people are under the misapprehension that hand gels clean hands thoroughly.

But many fail to understand that hand rubs only act as a barrier on top of hands, rather than removing the risk of illness and infection altogether. Norovirus – which can shut down whole hospital wards – is just one infection that cannot be stopped by hand sanitisers.

Another shocking statistic is that 29 per cent of people in Greater Manchester wouldn’t always wash their hands when visiting a hospital. This not only causes unnecessary risk to staff and other visitors but, most importantly, to vulnerable patients.

Manty Stanley, managing director of TEAL Patents, a manufacturer of portable hand washing units, said: “The results are disappointing. Hand gels only kill some germs and our hands have the power to kill when they incubate deadly strains of contagious diseases. It’s little wonder UK hospitals are a hotbed of germs if people choose not to wash their hands correctly before entering a hospital. Washing hands with soap under hot, running water is, in worldwide, medical opinion, the gold standard in infection control.

“We also need to educate hospital estate managers on the need to provide a hot water, hand wash with soap facilities, wherever and whenever it may be required, even when there is no immediate access to mains water and drainage.”