Clever Matt has got a handle on how to help boost hospital hygiene

1/11/2011 (PM)''Matt Roberts (31), joint owner of Pure Hold Ltd based in Waterlooville has designed a door handle that automatically dispenses hand gel to a person's hand to keep off bacteria in hospitals. ''Pictured is: Matt Roberts (31) with the door handle.'''Picture: Sarah Standing (113880-6582)
1/11/2011 (PM)''Matt Roberts (31), joint owner of Pure Hold Ltd based in Waterlooville has designed a door handle that automatically dispenses hand gel to a person's hand to keep off bacteria in hospitals. ''Pictured is: Matt Roberts (31) with the door handle.'''Picture: Sarah Standing (113880-6582)
Paige Howitt

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WHEN Matt Roberts spotted that people weren’t using sanitising gel in hospital, he decided to get a handle on the problem.

The 31-year-old has come up with a novel idea called the Hygiene Handle.

His gadget is covered with 23 pressure points that release the bug-busting gel when pulled to open a door.

The idea has been trialled at two hospitals – and now Matt is hoping the invention will be used nationally by the NHS.

Matt, of Parkside, Bedhampton, said: ‘I came up with the concept in 2009 when I had been going to the hospital as a visitor. I had a lot of time to observe people and saw not many would use the gel dispensing machine mounted on the walls.

‘There’s loads of posters everywhere telling you about different things and I don’t think people pay attention to it all.’

Matt spent time researching the importance of hand hygiene in hospital before he started to develop the idea.

‘It’s the most fundamental thing to reduce infection,’ he added.

‘We’ve held handle trials in two hospitals and the feedback has been good.’

The handle was tried in Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham and at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital, in Winchester.

The device contains a ‘non-gel’ section for staff who might be carrying paperwork, and so would not want to rub their hands with the gel.

Dad-of-one Matt, who has created company Pure Hold to develop the idea, said: ‘Both hospitals have been supportive and have worked with me to refine the design.

‘Having this support was essential to develop a product that was not only effective, but could be used in a healthcare environment.

‘The results from the trials were better than expected.

‘In some areas seven times more people cleaned their hands when the Hygiene Handle was installed.

‘The public reaction to the handle has been positive.’

Matthew Richardson, is a senior infection prevention nurse at QA, and has given his backing to the invention.

He said: ‘What people may not realise is that potentially harmful bacteria exist everywhere. When we are healthy our immune systems help protect us, but it is hugely important we find ways to stop these bugs getting into hospital wards where there are vulnerable patients. The Hygiene Handle is another useful tool to help us in our task of protecting patients.

‘It’s a novel way of confronting staff, patients and visitors with the need for clean hands.

‘It is a simple, yet brilliant idea which staff and patients have been really impressed with.’