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Disciplinary action for doctors who fail to meet hand washing standards

Posted in: Food Poisoning Medical Negligence 

The Scottish Conservatives argue that NHS doctors who fail to meet hand-washing standards should receive disciplinary action. After recent figures found that around one in ten doctors failed to meet hygiene standards, health spokesman and the Scottish Conservatives’ deputy leader, Jackson Carlaw, argued that more needed to be done.

Bacteria on our hands:

  • An average person’s hand can carry around 3,000 different bacteria
  • These bacteria belong to over 100 species
  • Damp hands spread 1,000 times more germs than dry hands
  • Every individual has a unique bacteria ‘fingerprint’
  • This can still be traced after two weeks at room temperature
  • Around a quarter of food poisoning related hospitalisations are due to poor handwashing standards
  • Washing your hands for 15 seconds at a time greatly reduces infection risk, said Scotland’s chief medical officer Sir Harry Burns

An NHS hand hygiene audit was carried out in May, which found that only 90% of senior medics complied with hygiene standards. As a result of this, the Scottish government argues that more should be done to eliminate such complacency. Handwashing is vital against the spread of infection and combats illnesses such as norovirus and seasonal flu. Mr Carlaw said:

“We need to consider the possibility of disciplinary action against doctors and anyone else who continually fails to meet hand hygiene standards.”

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