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NHS yet to reach hygiene target


18 April, 2008  

Scottish hospital staff have not yet reached a challenging target for complying with hand-washing standards, according to an internal report.

Despite a target requiring 90% compliance with hand-hygiene requirements by November this year, the compliance level in the latest quarter was 87%, while in some areas, it remains below 80%.

NHS Lanarkshire had the lowest rating, at 75% compliance. The highest ratings, 97%, were found in NHS Ayrshire and Arran and in NHS Forth Valley.

Among hospital workers across Scotland the compliance level by nurses was 89%. For medical staff it was 79% and for ancillary workers it was 81%.

The figures do however represent an improvement compared with previous hand-washing auditing exercises.

In the first exercise, in February last year, the compliance level across Scotland was just 68% – and in Lanarkshire it was as low as 55%.

Health secretary Nicola Sturgeon said the latest figures showed health boards were making “huge strides” towards reaching the target, adding that the hand hygiene target was one of a range of actions being taken to drive down rates of hospital-acquired infection.

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