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Hand hygiene in hospitals has never been better

Data released today shows hand hygiene at DHBs across the country is the best it has ever been, says Associate Health Minister Jo Goodhew.

“Performing hand hygiene at the appropriate times during patient care is one of the most important actions healthcare workers can take to improve patient safety and prevent healthcare associated infections,” says Mrs Goodhew.

As at the end of March 2014, good hand hygiene practices were being followed nearly 73 percent of the time across the country’s hospitals. This compares to 62 percent during July to October 2012.

The data released today comes ahead of World Hand Hygiene Day on Monday 5 May. The theme for this year is highlighting the vital role hand hygiene plays in combating antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

A new report by the World Health Organization (WHO) documents the magnitude of AMR and states that resistance to common bacteria has reached concerning levels, with some treatments now ineffective against common infections.

“Within the hospital environment, preventing the spread of antibiotic resistant germs through good hand hygiene is critical,” says Mrs Goodhew.

New Zealand’s hand hygiene programme, which started in 2009, is based on the WHO’s 5 Moments for Hand Hygiene. To further highlight the importance of hand hygiene, it was included in the Health Quality & Safety Markers in July 2013.

“Steady improvements in hand hygiene practice indicate that good habits are becoming more common practice in health professionals,” says Mrs Goodhew.

“It also emphasises the increased focus on quality improvement and patient safety that is happening in our hospitals.”

The latest hand hygiene data is available at www.handhygiene.org.nz

View the report

ENDS

Media contact: Angela Kenealy 021 220 0129

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