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Talking signs join battle against hospital superbugs

PUBLISHED: 10:06 06 February 2008 | UPDATED: 10:14 22 July 2010

TALKING signs that order people to clean their hands are the latest weapon in the battle hospital superbugs.

TALKING signs that order people to clean their hands are the latest weapon in the battle hospital superbugs.

Patients, visitors, nurses and doctors at The Whittington Hospital will all be reminded by electronic devices, which use motion sensors to detect when someone passes by.

The signs are being trialled at the hospital in Magdala Avenue, Archway, particularly outside busy areas such as maternity wards and the scanning department.

Deborah Wheeler, the trust's acting director of infection prevention and control, said: "As you walk past, it says, 'Please clean your hands before entering this ward.' The most common way bacteria are transferred is by touch."

The Heath Protection Agency's most recent figures on the spread of MRSA blood poisoning and Clostridium difficile infections, released last week, show good progress.

At The Whittington Hospital trust, there were 43 reports of patients aged 65 and over with Clostridium difficile between July and September 2007, down from 48 in the previous quarter.

And there were only two cases of MRSA bloodstream infection between July and September 2007, down from eight.

Ms Wheeler said: "We have been running compulsory training for every member of staff and are monitoring cleaning regimes."

At Bart's and The London NHS Trust - made up of Bart's Hospital in West Smithfield, The Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel and The London Chest Hospital in Bethnal Green - there were 63 reports of patients aged 65 and over with Clostridium difficile between July and September 2007, down from 93 the previous quarter.

But there were 13 cases of MRSA bloodstream infection - up from eight.

A spokeswoman for the trust said: "We treat patients with complex conditions that make them more vulnerable to infection. The trust has a strong record in infection control.


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