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National Patient Safety Agency

NPSA responds to recent reports on the removal of alcohol handrub dispensers

Monday 11 May 2009



Contrary to recent reports in the media the National Patient Safety Agency does not, and never has, advocated the complete removal of alcohol handrub dispensers from healthcare settings. Last year we issued guidance advising that the placement of alcohol handrub dispensers should be focused within the immediate area that a patient is treated e.g. at the bedside and in clinical areas. The point of patient care is the critical moment for preventing the spread of infection. Some hospitals have placed these dispensers in wider settings, such as unobserved public areas and corridors and as a result some have experienced vandalism problems. Hospitals who have subsequently removed dispensers from these wider settings are not putting patients at risk.




Notes to Editors:


Media enquiries to the NPSA Press Office:

Paul Cooney: 020 7927 9351 / paul.cooney@npsa.nhs.uk

Sara Coakley: on 020 7927 9580 / sara.coakley@npsa.nhs.uk.

 In September 2008 the NPSA issued guidance on hand hygiene (a Patient Safety Alert) based on the current best practice guidelines by the World Health Organization.


The National Patient Safety Agency is an Arm’s Length Body of the Department of Health. 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.