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One third of doctors don't wash their hands between patients - report

An audit by the HSE shows the Mater private hospital in Dublin had the highest rate of compliance with hand hygiene.

Image: Gang Liu via Shutterstock

MORE THAN 30 per cent of doctors are not complying with standard hand hygiene procedures by failing to wash their hands in between patients, according to an audit by the HSE.

The overall compliance for June/July 2012 was 81.6 per cent which the HSE said represented a significant increase from the previous period of 79.6 per cent in October 2011.

However the audit said compliance by healthcare workers in hand hygiene, which is one of the most effective ways of reducing numbers of healthcare associated infections, has been reported as “suboptimal”.

“Time constraints, skin integrity, inadequate physical resources (eg inadequate number of sinks) and absence of role models have been identified as barriers to compliance with hand hygiene.” it said.

Nurses and midwives were the best hand-washers with a compliance rate of 86.2 per cent but just 69 per cent of doctors wash their hands in between each patient.

The Mater private hospital in Dublin had the highest overall compliance rate of 94.8 per cent while Wexford General had the worst score of 70.3 per cent.

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The audit identified six key areas for improvement in hygiene to prevent the spread of infections including a promotion of the advantages of alcohol rub and the need for regular audits.

Read the full report on hand hygiene compliance>

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