After penicillin, perhaps the single greatest breakthrough of modern medicine was the idea that doctors should regularly wash their hands.
Although it's an idea that seems overwhelmingly obvious, and is accepted in most homes and schools, it's one whose time has yet to come in hospitals. So much so, in fact, that a group of doctors has created the Handwashing Liaison Group (no, we're not making this up).
The group is targetting the patients, urging them to remind doctors to wash their hands but it seems doctors are still not convinced. Only about one third of hospital staff wash their hands after touching a patient, and a gynaecologist, writing in the BMJ, commented: "If. . .there is such compelling evidence for the need to wash hands between each patient contact then why do I and the vast majority of my colleagues not do it?"