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National Patient Safety Agency

Campaign celebrates design win

5 November 2008


Frontline healthcare staff have been praised for their continued support in tackling infections in the NHS.


This follows the recent figures released by the Health Protection Agency which revealed a national decline in reported Clostridium difficile incidents, as well as the National Patient Safety Agency’s (NPSA’s) success at the annual Design Effectiveness Awards last night (4 November), where its cleanyourhands campaign received a bronze prize for its campaign materials – currently seen in all NHS hospitals in England and Wales to encourage better hand hygiene among staff.


Katherine Wilson, campaign lead for the cleanyourhands initiative said:


“Winning an award for Internal Communications compliments the recent figures on reported Clostridium difficile incidents as they confirm that we are engaging well with frontline hospital workers.


“Having been around for the last four years in acute trusts we are confident that most nurses, doctors and other frontline healthcare staff already know where, when and how they should be cleaning their hands. Our challenge is that in a busy working environment it is easy for them to sometimes forget to do this, and this can contribute to the spread of preventable infections like MRSA and C. difficile.


“For this reason our most recent campaign materials are designed with clear and simple messages in mind to engage staff and remind them of the recommended procedures. Our posters are immediately eye-catching as they use black backgrounds to contrast the generally pale hospital walls, as well as images of real hands to reflect the personal responsibility of each healthcare worker to change his or her habits.


“However the improvements that we have seen in infection rates so far can only be maintained through the commitment of all healthcare staff and so we look forward to working towards this when the final stage of our acute campaign begins next year”.


The Design Effectiveness Awards are held every year by the Design Business Association, which recognises companies and businesses that integrate effective design practices into their commercial growth. Although the NPSA-run cleanyourhands campaign is entirely non-profit, since its launch in 2004 100% of NHS trusts in England and Wales have signed up and in July this year it was extended into primary care, mental health, ambulance and care NHS trusts.


The design materials for which the NSPA received its award were produced by 999design.




Notes for editors:


Media enquiries to Paul Cooney in the NPSA Press Office on 020 7927 9351 or paul.cooney@npsa.nhs.uk.


A variety of visual reminders including floor vinyls, desk signs, screensavers and stickers were incorporated for Stage Three of the acute campaign to remind staff at every opportunity to think about hand hygiene. If you are a journalist and would like to view any of these campaign materials please contact Paul Cooney on 020 7927 9351 or paul.cooney@npsa.nhs.uk. Alternatively if you work for an NHS trust please email handhygiene@npsa.nhs.uk.


Stage Three campaign materials for cleanyourhands were designed by 999design.


On 23 October 2008, the Health Protection Agency released the quarterly figures for Clostridium difficile in NHS hospitals in England from April to June 2008. These revealed that there were 8,683 cases of C. diff recorded in patients aged 65 years and over. This represents a fall of 18% in this age group from the previous quarter, January to March 2008, when the total was 10,608. This also represents a fall of 38% from the same quarter in 2007 when 13,924 cases were recorded in patients aged 65 years and over between April and June.


This is not the first win for the NPSA at the Design Effectiveness Awards – in 2005, the cleanyourhands campaign won the gold award Internal Communications as well as the overall Grand Prix for its design materials. These materials were produced by Lucid Design Ltd


Stage Three of the cleanyourhands campaign also received the award for Strategic Communication Campaign of the year at the O2 sponsored Good Communication Awards in June 2008, for the changes it had made to public awareness and customer behaviour.


The cleanyourhands campaign is a four stage campaign which aims to improve the hand hygiene of healthcare workers and help the NHS tackle healthcare associated infections. Since its launch in 2004, the campaign has been adopted by all NHS acute trusts in England and Wales. Stage Three of the campaign began in October 2007. In July the campaign was extended to primary care, mental health, care and ambulance trusts as well as care homes and hospices. 


The National Patient Safety Agency is a Special Health Authority of the NHS. It encompasses three divisions; the National Research Ethics Service, the National Reporting and Learning Service and the National Clinical Assessment Service. Each has its own sphere of expertise to improve patient outcomes. The NPSA’s vision is to lead and contribute to improved, safe patient care by informing, supporting and influencing healthcare individuals and organisations.