Radio Grabs: Hand Hygiene Program To Tackle Hospital 'superbugs'

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5th May 2009, 06:07am - Views: 405






Media contact: Amy Winter, Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care on 02 9263 3605 or

amy.winter@safetyandquality.gov.au


MEDIA RELEASE - EMBARGOED UNTIL 12.01AM, MAY 5 2009


NATIONAL HAND HYGIENE PROGRAM AIMS TO HALVE

HOSPITAL SUPERBUG INFECTIONS


A new world-first national hand hygiene program is being rolled out across Australian hospitals in

a bid to halve the rate of antibiotic-resistant ‘superbug’ patient infections.


The National Hand Hygiene Initiative is based on groundbreaking Australian research

i

that shows

using alcohol-based hand rub is the single most effective intervention in controlling

Staphylococcus aureus blood stream infections (SAB), including the Methicillin-resistant

Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) or ‘golden staph’ disease.


This is a world-first, step-by-step program to improve hand hygiene in hospitals and other health

services and to monitor hand hygiene compliance among healthcare workers. If healthcare

workers use alcohol-based hand rub before and after contact with patients in the prescribed way,

the rate of Staphylococcus aureus infections is expected to halve. 


The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care has instigated, and is funding,

the Initiative.


“This is a very exciting development in the fight against patient infection and represents a simple

but highly effective program to improve hand hygiene in every public and private hospital in

Australia,” says Professor Chris Baggoley, Chief Executive of Australian Commission on Safety

and Quality in Health Care.


“By improving infection control, the Initiative has the potential to save the lives of more than 1,500

Australians a year – a figure similar to the national road toll,” Professor Baggoley says.


The National Hand Hygiene Initiative officially begins today, 5 May, to coincide with the World

Health Organization’s Save Lives: Clean your Hands day.


"MRSA or ‘golden staph’ disease is a major problem for hospitals worldwide. We need to make

infection control everyone’s business in the health system and the wider community to help

address this problem," says Professor Baggoley.  


Australia’s National Hand Hygiene Initiative is being implemented by Hand Hygiene Australia.

The Director of Hand Hygiene Australia, Professor Lindsay Grayson, is also Director of Infectious

Diseases at Austin Health in Victoria. He undertook the ground-breaking, award winning,

research featured last year in the Medical Journal of Australia that demonstrates the

effectiveness of alcohol-based hand rub in reducing blood stream infections.


“The research demonstrates that where health professionals consistently use an alcohol-based

hand rub for just 15 seconds, the rates of golden staph infections are half those in hospitals

where health professionals are required to wash their hands for one minute using traditional soap

and water,” says Professor Grayson, who is also Australia’s World Health Organization hand

hygiene representative.




Media contact: Amy Winter, Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care on 02 9263 3605 or

amy.winter@safetyandquality.gov.au


“It is the first time an initiative has been shown to work across multiple sites, across an entire

health system in a sustained way, over many years.”


The Initiative has the strong support of the Commonwealth Minister for Health and all State and

Territory Health Ministers, which fund the Commission.


Hand Hygiene Australia will work closely with existing State/Territory strategies and campaigns to

maximise the success of the Initiative. While initially focusing on acute-care hospitals, Hand

Hygiene Australia resources will also be available for all public and private healthcare facilities. 


The program represents clear, national guidelines for hand hygiene. It includes an online

education program to inform all healthcare workers about infection control and hand hygiene, and

will push for all Australian medical and nursing curricula to include training on the importance of

effective hand hygiene.


<Ends>



Radio News Grabs Available:

Spokesperson: Professor Lindsay Grayson, Director of Hand Hygiene Australia


Telephone Hotline: 1300 732 445, Menu 1, Option 2



Media Contacts:

Interviews and/or photo opportunities are available with:

Professor Chris Baggoley, Chief Executive of Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in

Health Care 

Professor Lindsay Grayson, Director of Hand Hygiene Australia 


To arrange an interview or photo, contact Amy Winter, Australian Commission on Safety and

Quality in Health Care on 02 9263 3605 or amy.winter@safetyandquality.gov.au 



About the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care is funded by and reports

directly to all Australia’s Health Ministers. It works closely with all States and Territories, public

and private hospitals, and primary care providers. The Commission leads and coordinates

improvement in safety and quality in heath care in Australia by identifying issues and policy

directions, recommending priorities for action disseminating knowledge, and advocating for safety

and quality.












                                                

i

Grayson et al, Significant Reductions in MRSA Bacteraemia and clinical isolates associated with a multisite, hand hygiene culture-

change program and subsequent successful sate-wide rollout, Medical Journal of Australia, 2 June 2008.







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