Editorials

Keeping hand hygiene high on the patient safety agenda

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f2699 (Published 01 May 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f2699
  1. Sheldon Stone, senior lecturer1,
  2. Graziella Kontowski, founder of Clostridium difficile support group 2,
  3. Rose Gallagher, nurse adviser, infection prevention and control3,
  4. Julie Storr, president4,
  5. Louise Teare, consultant microbiologist and infection control doctor5
  1. 1Royal Free Campus, University College London Medical School, London NW3 2PF, UK
  2. 2Clostridium Difficile Support Group, London, UK www.cdiff-support.co.uk
  3. 3Royal College of Nursing, London, UK
  4. 4Infection Prevention Society, Bathgate, UK
  5. 5Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford, UK
  1. s.stone{at}medsch.ucl.ac.uk

WHO’s call to action reminds us that “patients have a voice too”

The World Health Organization’s annual global hand hygiene day is on 5 May (www.who.int/gpsc/5may/en). The day offers participating hospitals tools to improve hand hygiene and supports WHO’s first global patient safety challenge, launched in 2005 to reduce the global burden of healthcare associated infection through sustained improvements in hand hygiene. By 5 May last year, 130 countries had registered with WHO’s “save lives: clean your hands” initiative (www.who.int/gpsc/5may/background/en). This year the number is 170. WHO’s call to action for 5 May 2013 asks hospitals to “continue to focus on hand hygiene monitoring and feedback” and reminds them that “patients have a voice too.” This reminder has particular resonance for the English NHS in light of recent events where patient safety had low priority, even though England and Wales were the first, in December 2004, to roll out a national Cleanyourhands campaign.1

Research published in the BMJ a year ago showed that the Cleanyourhands campaign, coordinated by the National …

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