Have you cleaned your hands?

HSE commences Public Education Campaign on Hand Hygiene in Hospitals and Health Facilities

The HSE has launched a major new public information campaign on hand hygiene, inviting patients to ask their healthcare workers if they have cleaned their hands before treating them.

The HSE advert is based on questions - and when someone is unwell or in hospital, they have lots of questions for their carers - like, Do I need an operation?, When can I go home?, How long 'til I'm back to normal?

The message of this new campaign is that patients should also ask one important and easy question of their healthcare workers - Have you cleaned your hands?

There is no question that when one is unwell, and vulnerable, that this might seem like a difficult or challenging question.  But, since good hand hygiene does so much to halt the transfer of infection from patient to patient, no health worker would object to reassuring the people in their care that they are getting the clean pair of hands they deserve.

Dr. Kevin Kelleher, Asst. National Director for Health Protection with the HSE said: “While hospital hygiene is clearly important, evidence shows that hand hygiene is the single most effective defence against the spread of MRSA.  Patients and Healthcare Staff are now much more aware and often more concerned about Healthcare Associated Infection, and we hope that the public education messages we are broadcasting will help to reassure everyone in the hospital that high standards are a priority.”

In March 2007, the HSE established a National Infection Control Steering Group, responsible for reducing infection levels in Ireland's health care facilities by stopping the spread of infection and altering antibiotic usage in hospitals and in the community.

Read more about the Steering Group and the HSE's national strategy to reduce HCAI HERE

“Health Care Associated Infection, or HCAI, is now a feature of all international health facilities. It’s not only a question of getting rid of it – it’s how we manage and control it that matters.  We have to enforce hand hygiene standards, train our staff, educate patients and visitors, and provide facilities that support clean and safe environments,” added Dr Kelleher.

All public Hospitals and Local Health Offices have been sent copies of 2 information leaflets on Health Care Associated Infection, and on MRSA. The HSE infoline, 1850 24 1850, also has copies of both leaflets and is open Monday to Saturday from 8am to 8pm. These leaflets are available to read or download below.

Last updated on: 14 / 01 / 2008