Is infection under control in your hospital?

 In NICE guidelines, Simplifying Product Supply

It is estimated that 300,000 patients a year in England, acquire a healthcare‑associated infection. This was outlined by NICE as part of their quality standard for ‘Infection prevention and control’ (QS61). The prevalence of healthcare-associated infections in hospitals in England, in 2011, was 6.4%. The most common of these were respiratory infections (22.8%), urinary tract infections (17.2%), and surgical site infections. Each one of these infections means the additional use of resources, greater patient discomfort and a decrease in patient safety.

Infection control - Washing hands

In some areas, the battle against infection is steadily being won. In 2007, MRSA and Clostridium Difficile were linked to approximately 9000 deaths in hospital and primary care in England. However, since 2006, the prevalence of both has been reduced significantly, from 1.3% to 0.1% for MRSA and from 2% to 0.4% for Clostridium Difficile.

Despite this, infection control remains a key patient safety issue in hospitals. This is because every disease, condition, procedure and sometimes medication can reduce the body’s natural defences against infection. It is not possible to remove the risk of infection completely, therefore steps must be taken to control the risk of infection wherever possible.

However, the issue of infection control is not just about patient safety. The Department of Health sets out a list of ten criteria relating to infection control. These must then be used by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to evaluate all registered healthcare providers.

Details of this are contained in the Health and Social Care Act 2008, which you can access via our website.

How can sanitising wipes help with infection control?

Surface wipes can play an important supporting role in your infection control procedures. The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) suggests that wipes are increasingly being used to decontaminate low-risk patient equipment or environmental surfaces and that dirt removal is the main purpose of a wipe. They do concede however that “selection of a disinfectant wipe is important as infection prevention efforts may be compromised if a product is not fit for its intended purpose.”

The RCN have produced guidanceon issues for those involved in the selection, use, and implementation of environmental decontamination methods that may include wipes.”


save lives clean hands day infection control

Save Lives, Clean Hands Day

Cleaning your hands regularly, especially in a clinical environment, can significantly decrease the number of bacteria you carry on your hands. Every year on the 5th May, the World Health Organisation (WHO) spread awareness of the importance of washing your hands with their “Save lives, Clean Your Hands Day”.

This year the WHO are showing the link between antimicrobial resistance and infection control procedures, such as washing your hands. Hand hygiene is one of the most important forms of infection control and our hands are the bodies main germ carrier. It is important that when washing your hands, you get all the bits in-between your fingers, to ensure you maximise the anti-bacterial benefits.

The WHO’s call to actions this Save Lives, Clean Hands Day are:

  • Health workers: “Clean your hands at the right times and stop the spread of antibiotic resistance.”
  • Hospital Chief Executive Officers and Administrators: “Lead a year-round infection prevention and control programme to protect your patients from resistant infections.”
  • Policymakers: “Stop antibiotic resistance spread by making infection prevention and hand hygiene a national policy priority.”
  • IPC leaders: “Implement WHO’s Core Components for infection prevention, including hand hygiene, to combat antibiotic resistance.”

If you want to get involved in this awareness day and join the fight against antimicrobial resistance visit the WHO’s Website. You can get involved in the discussion on social media by using the hashtags #HandHygiene or #AntibioticResistance, and by using Ashtons or the WHO’s specially developed poster.



How can Ashtons help?

We offer an extensive selection of medical supplies to help you maintain high levels of hygiene and control infections, including hand sanitizers, wipes, and virucidal and medical sprays. A much wider range of products for infection control, including gloves, aprons and antiseptics are also available from our online ordering website.

If you can’t find a product that you are looking for, please call our Customer Service Team on 0345 222 3550 or email us at, and we will do our best to source an alternative for you.



  1. Nice guideline
  2. The Royal College of Nursing guidance 
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