Save lives: clean your hands

May 5, 2015 Written by Georgina Pearson

On 5 May every year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) aims to raise awareness of the importance of hand hygiene. Good hand hygiene can help prevent healthcare related infections and is vital for keeping patients safe.

This year, to celebrate World Hand Hygiene Day, we are sharing the message that something as simple as cleaning our hands can have a big impact on the lives of staff, patients and their families. Have a look at our new video which follows the stories of people we know who have been affected by infections due to poor hand hygiene. Watch it here.

Lesley’s 100-year-old dad lives in a care home and he struggles to wash his hands so has been in hospital a few times with infections. She has noticed healthcare professionals not washing their hands properly when they are busy and rushed. She makes a plea: “You work very hard with your great care, skills and technology but a very simple procedure, which takes less than a minute, can benefit your patients hugely. Equally if you don’t do it properly it can be very adverse for them so please, please do this. For me, my father is my priority and, for you, your patients are your priority.”

We are committed to protecting patients, staff, carers and visitors from the risk of avoidable healthcare associated infection. One of the ways we do this is by making sure that our staff provide care safely, follow our robust infection control policies and have regular training. We’ll be using our new video in our infection prevention and control training for all staff.

How you can help

Everyone can help stop the spread of infections by cleaning their hands properly at the right times. It is especially important that people who are caring for their own, or someone else’s medical devices or wounds know about good hand hygiene.


  • Effective hand hygiene is essential to providing safe care
  • Wash your hands with soap and water when your hands are visibly dirty, soiled with blood or other body fluids or after using the toilet.
  • Rubbing your hands with alcohol hand gel is fast, effective, and better tolerated by your hands than washing with soap and water if your hands are not visibly soiled.

You can also download our hand hygiene leaflet for more information.