'Alarm' over hand-washing failings

05 Aug 2013

Doctors who fail to meet hand hygiene standards should face disciplinary action, politicians in Scotland have said.

Jackson Carlaw, deputy leader of the Scottish Conservatives and the party's health spokesman, said "stronger action" was needed on the issue.

A recent NHS audit found that one in 10 doctors fails to meet standards on hand-washing.

According to the figures, hygiene standards are met by 98% of nurses and 97% of other health professionals such as radiographers and podiatrists.

But the compliance rate among medical staff stands falls to 90%, compared with an overall rate of 96% among health workers throughout Scotland.

Mr Carlaw said the figures were "alarming" and called for disciplinary action against any health workers who continually fail to meet hand hygiene standards.

He added: "It is a real problem that the very people who are supposed to be setting an example on wards are failing so spectacularly to do so.

"Hospitals have learned lessons on hygiene the hard way in recent years. We know how costly infections like MRSA, C diff (Clostridium difficile), norovirus and even seasonal flu can be.

"So the fact the message is still not getting through means stronger action has to be taken, because this has been a problem for some time."

Copyright Press Association 2013

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