The Healthcare Commission has found wide variations between hospitals on measures to fight infections such as Clostridium difficile (C difficile) and MRSA.
The Commission’s annual survey gathered responses from 155,922 NHS staff throughout the country – one of the largest staff surveys in the world – with responses received from all 391 NHS trusts.
The poll did reveal some improvements, with 82% of NHS staff saying their trust does enough to promote handwashing with hot water, soap or alcohol rubs, up from 70% in 2005.
However, only 61% said handwashing equipment was always available when they needed it. A further 30% said it was available most of the time.
Across acute trusts, the number of staff who said handwashing equipment was always available varied from 39% at Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in east London to 82% at the Queen Victoria Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in East Grinstead.
Only 32% of staff at Homerton said handwashing equipment was always available for patients to use.
The survey also revealed that more than a quarter (26%) of all staff questioned in the survey had been harassed, bullied or abused by patients or their relatives, with only 49% reporting it.
Anna Walker, the Commission’s chief executive, said: “We know that health workers are more likely to experience violence, harassment and abuse than workers from other sectors and the NHS has made a concerted effort to address this problem.”
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