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Sussex hospital introduces ‘tuck bags’ to cut infections by preventing airborne food contamination


Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust has introduced innovative new “tuck bags” across wards to help improve the control of infection.

Re-sealable water resistant paper bags are available to every patient to allow them to safely store food at the bedside. They have a clear window to allow the contents to be easily seen and are made out of material that can be recycled.

The aim is to prevent food being contaminated with airborne microorganisms and reduce the risk of cross infection.

The idea was the brainchild of Paula Tucker, head of nursing patient safety and quality.

She said: “We tried a few different solutions to the problem of storing food safely at the bedside but none were very effective. We tried re-sealable plastic boxes and other containers but they had to be cleaned regularly and were difficult for elderly or weak patients to open.

“These new tuck bags solve these problems and are a more effective way of protecting patients’ food. They are inexpensive, keep the patient food fresh for longer and a new bag can be used for each patient.”

The initiative was trialled successfully in selected areas of the hospital before being introduced to all wards.

Nurse consultant Valerie Unsworth, the trust’s deputy director of infection control and prevention, said: “Tuck bags are a simple but very effective way of reducing cross infection in hospitals and care homes.”


Readers' comments (5)

  • The aim is to prevent food being contaminated with airborne microorganisms and reduce the risk of cross infection.

    What type,of airborne contaminants do you
    generally have I n hospitals?

    Tha is for your reply.

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  • why are patients having to store food by their bedsides in the first place?

    in any long term stays, if they require it, patients should have a place in the ward kitchen refrigerator with food stored in labelled containers, which presumably is defrosted and cleared out regularly.
    bedside lockers aren't places for food storage beyond a few pieces of fruit and some sweets and fresh drinks replaced several times a day.

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  • What does "trialled effectively" mean? What was the observed reduction in cross-infection rates?

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  • I see! Instead of a hot meal straight from the kitchen with a cover on it, you now give them a packed lunch in a paper bag and spin it so it seems like you are cutting down infection instead of just saving money!

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  • isn't it called a tucker bag - normally used for jumbuck

    i could bring in my old school tuck box it seems fairly mouse and rat proof! :-)

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