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Nurses better than doctors at meeting handwashing targets


Scottish hospital doctors have been criticised after new figures showed they are still failing to meet handwashing targets, while nurses exceeded targets by 5%.

Health secretary Nicola Sturgeon said more could be done to address the issue despite statistics showing an overall improvement in hand hygiene.

The latest figures showed the compliance rate for hand hygiene in hospitals had increased to 94 per cent among all workers.

But the rate varied among staff groups, with doctors the worst offenders.

The latest hand hygiene audit showed the compliance rate for doctors was at 86 per cent, lower than the target of 90 per cent.

Nursing staff were at 95 per cent, while ancillary staff such as porters and cleaners were at 94 per cent.

Allied health professionals, such as physiotherapists, radiographers and podiatrists, had the best compliance rate at 96 per cent.

Liberal Democrat health spokesman Ross Finnie said: “I am concerned that doctors are still lagging behind when it comes to washing their hands. There is simply no excuse for this, particularly given the high profile hygiene drive after the swine flu outbreak.

“Infections in hospitals cost lives. As senior medical professionals, doctors should be setting an example for other health workers to follow.”

Last January Ms Sturgeon declared “zero tolerance” of staff who did not wash their hands.


Readers' comments (2)

  • NHS Nursing Student

    It's simple. Make sure doctors do a Handwashing OSCE like Nursing Students. Targeting this issue at an Educational level when medical students aren't out on the wards yet and aren't quite the doctors of the future is the way forward. All other AHCP's are learning this, why can't our medics?

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  • I am sure the results would be the same in England. I am a 3rd yr nursing student and on one of my placements I carried out hand hygiene audits on other wards with my mentor. The worst culprits were doctors!! Some did not wash their hands at the entire time they visited the ward, handled patient notes, went to patients' bedsides. It was disgusting! These doctors were approached and advised on their actions.

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