Staff at Ashford and St. Peter’s Hospitals showed their commitment to fighting MRSA by participating in a week of ‘Think Clean’ activities between Monday 28th February (national ‘Think Clean’ day) and Friday 4th March.

‘Think Clean’ is an initiative between NHS Trusts, the Department of Health, UNISON, and other key partners including the Royal College of Nursing, to raise the profile and importance of hygiene issues in hospitals. The purpose of the initiative is to focus attention on cleaning and demonstrate what can be achieved over a short focused period. Staff can immediately use this experience to improve their hospital cleaning plan. At Ashford and St. Peter’s the initiative has been widened to include dumping junk, security, smoking cessation and improving working lives.

During the week the Trust audited nine wards and clinic areas for cleanliness and adherence to national guidelines on infection control. Trophies sponsored by hospital cleaners Medirest were presented to the winning ward and clinic area on each site.

Over the following days staff took action to ‘dump junk’ by removing unwanted furniture and equipment; focused on ensuring that staff wear their name badge and carry their photo ID with them at all times; contributed ideas about how the Trust can improve the working lives of staff and raised awareness about the support available to those who wish to stop smoking as part of national ‘No Smoking Day’ on 9th March.

Towards the end of the week senior staff including Trust Directors went ‘back to the floor’ to see how services operate first hand. Chief Executive Glenn Douglas and Medical Director Mike Baxter spent time on a reception desk meeting and greeting patients and visitors. On the wards Director of HR Siân Thomas served tea and Non-Executive Director Mary Riley served lunch. Other senior staff including Finance Director Keith Mansfield were involved in cleaning on the wards and in A&E.

Chief Nursing Officer Christine Beasley, who recently visited Ashford Hospital, said: “The ‘Think Clean’ initiative is all about local NHS staff making a difference in their area. Everyone, no matter how junior or senior can play a part. I am pleased that staff at Ashford and St. Peter’s Hospitals have taken the opportunity to think about how they work, and whether there are any changes they could make that would improve the cleanliness of our hospitals.”

Ashford and St. Peter’s Hospitals NHS Trust takes infection control very seriously and the Trust’s Infection Control team is working on projects aimed at preventing hospital acquired infections and is focusing on intensive care, where patients are particularly vulnerable to these infections. Other initiatives are ensuring that no patient stays in hospital for any longer than they absolutely have to, and this should reduce infection rates further.

The Trust has had a long running wash your hands campaign using posters and training for clinical and cleaning staff. In January 2005 the Trust became a second wave partner in the national CleanYourHands campaign with displays, badges and further posters available to wards and clinic areas.

Rex Cassidy, Facilities General Manager and lead for the Think Clean initiative commented: “We’re really pleased how staff at all levels entered into the spirit of the activities. We’ll be evaluating the activities and reviewing whether the initiative should be run more often. It is important that we focus on the cleanliness of our two hospitals. Patients and visitors can help us in our fight against MRSA and other hospital acquired infections by asking staff whether they have washed their hands.”


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