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National Patient Safety Agency

World Infection Control Expert Receives Honorary CBE

 24 January 2008


The world of hand hygiene and infection control was honoured at a special ceremony in Geneva (Switzerland) today when Professor Didier Pittet, a leading authority on hand hygiene as a major contributor to reducing hospital infections, was officially made an honorary Commander of the British Empire (CBE).  The award was conferred by the British Ambassador and UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Geneva, Mr Nicholas Thorne. 


'Professor Pittet has inspired action here in the United Kingdom and across the globe to effect real change for patients', said Sir Liam Donaldson, Chief Medical Officer for England. 'Recognition of these achievements is richly deserved.'


National Patient Safety Agency's Chief Executive Martin Fletcher said the award was a genuine recognition of the tremendous progress made not only in the UK but in many parts of the world by Professor Pittet in creating awareness of the simple clean hands message.


'Professor Pittet's commitment to hand hygiene is recognised internationally through the establishment of the World Health Organisation's First Global Challenge on Patient Safety - Clean Care is Safer Care - with more than 60 countries now signed up to this campaign.

The England and Wales 'cleanyourhands' campaign that has been successfully introduced into all acute NHS Trusts and is currently being rolled out into the non-acute health sector are based on the work initiated by Professor Pittet as the Director of Infection Control at the University of Geneva Hospitals.'


'Like other countries, we have taken our lead from Professor Pittet's example,' Mr Fletcher said.  'We are now part of a global network of learning that a vital part of improving patient safety.'


Notes to editors

  1. For further information please contact Senior Communications Manager, Nick Rigg on 0207 927 9362. 

  2. The National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) helps the NHS learn from its mistakes so that it can improve patient safety. It does this by collecting reports on errors and other things that go wrong in healthcare so that it can recognise national trends and introduce practical ways of preventing problems. It does not investigate individual cases or complaints, but it does listen to public concerns and uses what is said to improve safety.