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What Doctors Don't Tell You

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August 2019 (Vol. 4 Issue 6)

Now, wash your hands (except nurses don’t)
About the author: 
Bryan Hubbard

Now, wash your hands (except nurses don’t) image

It’s something we tell our kids to do, but nurses and care workers in outpatient centres are still not washing their hands, even after they’ve dressed a wound or vaccinated someone. The spread of infections—including life-threatening MRSA bugs and hepatitis—is much more likely as a result, a new report has discovered.

Care staff are failing to wash their hands after around one in in three procedures—and no hygiene practices are used whatsoever in a third of clinics reviewed.

Researchers from the University of New Mexico were astonished by the results as education about the importance of hygiene and hand-washing is constantly reinforced by health regulators and training centres, especially with the emergence of the ‘superbugs’ such as MRSA and the spread of hepatitis B and C.

The researchers carried out random checks on 15 outpatient clinics across New Mexico, and discovered that workers are not washing their hands after around a third of procedures, or following other hygiene requirements, such as using a new needle and syringe after each vaccination. Five of the centres didn’t appear to follow any hygiene procedures at all.

Their observations didn’t tally with the view of the clinics, which claimed they all followed 93 per cent of ‘best practice’ hygiene procedures.


References

(Source: American Journal of Infection Control, 2016; 44: 374)

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