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Clean hands save lives

Reference number
0773
Issue date02 September 2008
DH Gateway reference
10468
TypeAlert

This Patient Safety Alert provides guidance on best practice in hand hygiene at the point of care, to contribute to reducing healthcare associated infection (HCAI).


At any one time up to eight per cent of inpatients in England and six per cent in Wales have HCAI. Statistics for England and Wales show that 5,109 deaths involved MRSA and 13,189 involved Clostridium difficile during the period 2001-2006 in patient/care establishments.


The alert describes:


  • The role of hand hygiene in preventing and controlling infection.
  • The point of care as the crucial moment for hand hygiene.
  • The appropriate placement of alcohol handrub products.
  • Which hand hygiene products to use and when.
  • The current recognised standard for hand hygiene products.
  • Management of risks including ingestion, storage and skin irritation.

Actions for primary care organisations include: 


  • Undertaking an audit to review current risk management strategies including:
  • the placement, accessibility and suitability of all hand hygiene products to ensure healthcare staff are able to undertake hand hygiene at the point of care; and 
  • all hand hygiene policies, processes and programmes.
  • Developing and implementing an action plan to address the issues identified in the audit.

Clean hands save lives - Patient Safety Alert
Clean hands save lives - Patient Safety Alert - 779 KB 0773 | Clean hands save lives | Patient Safety Alert | 2008-09-02
Clean hands save lives Alert - FAQs
Clean hands save lives Alert - FAQs - 51 KB 0773A | Clean hands save lives Alert - FAQs | 2008-09-02 | v2
Clean hands save lives briefing document
Clean hands save lives briefing document - 24 KB 0773B - Clean hands save lives briefing document- 2008-09-02 - V2
Clean hands save lives hand cleaning techniques
Clean hands save lives hand cleaning techniques - 1.14 MB 0773C - Clean hands save lives hand cleaning techniques - 2008-09-02 - V2
Clean hands save lives data for incidents related to alcohol handrub
Clean hands save lives data for incidents related to alcohol handrub - 182 KB 0773D - Clean hands save lives data for incidents related to alcohol handrub
Clean hands save lives implementation guide
Clean hands save lives implementation guide - 70 KB 0773E - Clean hands save lives implementation guide - 2008-09-02 - V2
Clean hands save lives checklist
Clean hands save lives checklist - 64 KB 0773F - Clean hands save lives checklist - 2008-09-02 - V2