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Hand Gel Usage

Volume 638: debated on Tuesday 20 March 2018

9. What progress Public Health England has made on implementing his Department’s policy of publishing data on hand gel usage in NHS trusts as an indicator of hand hygiene compliance. (904470)

Patient safety, and particularly infection prevention, are among the Government’s key priorities. Public Health England has carried out some initial analysis of available data. However, currently the data is incomplete and would not give a true reflection of the usage of hand gel. We are working with Public Health England to explore how we can improve that data.

I am sure the Minister will agree that it is a matter of real importance that all NHS staff wash their hands at all the required five moments of patient contact. Does she agree that it is disappointing that we have not quite got that data published yet, and will she set a date when we will be able to see that data for each trust?

As I have said, we will continue to look at that, but, as my hon. Friend knows, the Department has a really strong track record of tackling infection. Incidents of MRSA are down 54% on 2010. We have published a revised code of practice on hand hygiene and we are working with partners across health and social care to ensure that this remains a focus.

There has been some excellent work on extending hand gel usage throughout the NHS, and the decline in MRSA is, I think, indicative of that. However, there is a glaring prejudice, certainly in my part of the world, amongst people who think that these gels contain alcohol, and will not use them for that reason. Is it possible to instigate some form of signalling or marking to prove and to state that there is no alcohol within these hand gels, because we do not want to see people prevented from using them?

The hon. Gentleman makes an excellent point, and it is certainly something that we can look at more closely.

Will the Minister explain the work that the Government are doing with Public Health England to raise awareness of sepsis infections, and do urgent work to tackle that potential killer?

This is a massive priority for the Government, and we are about to start a public information campaign. Sepsis is a killer—one that deserves to be given the utmost importance, and one that we will be seeking to tackle in every way that we can.