UK Survey Shows Significant Improvement in Hospital Infection Control

Hospital staff members are reporting significant improvements in handwashing and infection control, according to the results of a survey announced today by the Healthcare Commission of the United Kingdom.

Of all acute-care staff who responded to the survey:

-- 82 percent believe that the trust does enough to promote the importance of handwashing to staff (relative increase of 17 percent since 2005)

-- 71 percent believe that the trust does enough to promote the importance of handwashing to patients, service users and trust visitors (relative increase of 25 percent since 2005)

-- 83 percent believe that infection control applies to them (relative increase of 12 percent since 2005)

As well as progress in infection control, staff reported improvements in many other aspects of working in the National Health Service (NHS). The survey showed levels of staff training remain high, with 94 percent reporting access to employer supported training and development opportunities in the last 12 months. More staff are receiving appraisals (61 percent, up from 58 percent in 2006) which are proven to impact positively on patient experience, and more staff have a personal development plan (52 percent, up from 48 percent in 2006).

According to the survey, job satisfaction remains high and staff members feel better supported by their managers and their trust in achieving a good work-life balance. The majority of staff are using flexible working options (73 percent, up from 71 percent in 2006).

Health minister Ann Keen noted, “I know from past experience as a nurse that working in the NHS is demanding but immensely rewarding and it is encouraging that in its 60th year, the majority of staff continue to report high job satisfaction. The Department of Health has made it very clear that cleanliness should be the top priority for all NHS trusts and we have invested an additional £270 million per year until 2011 to help them to do so.” Keen continued, “We have instructed hospitals to adopt a range of measures to prevent the spread of hospital infections, including the deep cleaning program, the reintroduction of matrons and the 'Bare Below the Elbows' dress code. It is very satisfying to hear that our high standards for infection control are being taken seriously by the majority of hospitals.”

Source: National Health Service

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