CLEAN your hands.
That is the simple message staff at Queen Alexandra Hospital want to get across to its visitors, patients and staff.
In a hospital, people are sick and we need to stop infection spreading in any way we can - washing hands is the simplest way to do that.Debbie Keyte
And to help get the word out, The News is working alongside Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the Cosham site, to get people washing their hands.
In England, healthcare-associated infections affect 300,000 people every year and one of the simplest ways to combat this and save lives is handwashing with soap and water.
Studies have found only five per cent of people wash their hands properly after going to the toilet and 10 per cent do not wash them at all.
We are calling on people in Portsmouth and surrounding areas to design posters getting across the important message of hand hygiene. Schools and colleges as well as artists are being encouraged to get creative and come up with a poster.
Debbie Keyte, lead nurse for Infection Prevention at QA Hospital, said: ‘Our hand hygiene campaign is about encouraging people to wash their hands. That includes the public and patients and for them to challenge staff to wash their hands too.
‘We want to empower the public to feel confident in challenging anyone they see to wash their hands or use an antibacterial gel.’
Washing hands properly with soap and water can reduce the number of people who get sick with diarrhoea by 31 per cent and in a hospital, preventing the spread of infection is crucial.
Debbie added: ‘The average person’s hands can carry at least 3,000 different bacteria. By washing hands properly, it prevents the spread of these germs and stops the mode of transmission for diseases.
‘In a hospital, people are sick and we need to stop infection spreading in any way we can - washing hands is the simplest way to do that.’
The competition, which launches today, is looking for a winner, runner-up and third place. The poster can include any design but has to include the phrase Clean Your Hands.
The winner will get a £100 Amazon voucher, the runner-up will get a £50 Amazon voucher with the third place prize a £30 Amazon voucher. The prizes have been provided by soap firm Deb.
The deadline for entries is Saturday, April 22 and the winner will be announced shortly afterwards after being judged by a panel.
The winner’s poster will be copied and placed around QA Hospital. They will be invited into the hospital on World Hand Hygiene Day, May 5, to receive their prize and have their picture taken for The News.
n Entries should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or sent to Ellie Pilmoor, The News, 1000 Lakeside, North Harbour, Western Road, Portsmouth, PO6 3EN.