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Hand Washing Campaign 21 December 2004

The Infection Control Team at Noble's Hospital have undertaken the first public hand hygiene campaign in the Isle of Man. The essence of the campaign is to raise awareness of the importance of washing hands to prevent the spread of infection.

The Keep 'Em Clean Campaign was launched on Saturday 4th December, outside Marks and Spencers. This was a huge success with more than 1000 people attending the stand throughout the day. The public were given information about all aspects of hand hygiene. Eleanor Power, age 12, from Port Erin won a competition asking when is it important to wash your hands.

The official launch was opened on Monday 6th December by the Minister Hon. Steve Rodan, at Noble's Hospital Entrance.

The Minister cut the 'chain of infection' in the presence of DHSS Chief Executive - David Killip, Hospital Manager - Paul Shields, and Director of Nursing and Midwifery - Bev Critchlow. The Infection Control Team: Dr Wardle - Infection Control Doctor, Margaret Kermode and Elizabeth Sawyer - Specialist Nurses, were also present, as were the Committee who were instrumental in delivering the campaign.

The Minister presented prizewinners from the hand washing children's poster competition with their prizes. They were Joshua Rigg, aged 9, Paige Skillicorn, aged 8, and Michael Jones, aged 5. All entries were of a very high standard, which made judging difficult.

Margaret Kermode said:

"The Campaign has been a resounding success. Hospital staff have been very supportive in getting the message across and the general public have shown great interest in the campaign."

During this week other activities taking place within the Noble's and Ramsey Cottage Hospitals, include hand-washing demonstrations, hand washing audits and a competition in the foyer of Noble's Hospital to name occasions when hand washing should be undertaken.

Many members of staff have signed up to a 'hand washing champion' scheme; this includes their photograph being displayed on posters around the Hospitals and depicts them as a role model for hand washing. Finally, staff are wearing stickers on their uniforms telling patients that 'it's ok to ask'. This has been welcomed by staff and is seen as a step to encourage patients to ask staff if they have washed their hands.

Information posters/leaflets are displayed in GP Surgeries, Nursing and Residential homes, in order to get the hand-washing message right across the Island, and School Nurses will be holding awareness events throughout the Island's schools.

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