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Zero tolerance for hand hygiene

The Scottish government in the UK, is to introduce a zero tolerance regime on hand hygiene for hospital staff from January 2009.

Doctors and nurses who repeatedly fail to comply with hand washing guidelines could be sacked under tough new rules to prevent the spread of superbugs. An aide to health secretary Nicola Sturgeon said it was “unacceptable” for medical staff to flout hygiene rules.

Ministers previously set a 90% target for hand washing, but they now believe that target has been achieved ahead of schedule.

The aide said: “Hand hygiene is an important part of our drive to tackle healthcare associated infection. NHS Scotland has met the target to achieve at least 90% compliance.

“We are now adopting a zero tolerance approach to non compliance and all boards are expected to implement this policy from January.”

“It is unacceptable for staff to fail to comply with hand hygiene guidance. All staff must ensure the safest possible environment for patients.

“Zero tolerance means just that, and all staff should be in no doubt that the highest standards are expected.”

Copyright Press Association 2008

NHS Scotland