Opinion Former Article

24/02/2010: MRSA Action UK: Healthcare Associated Infections, Public and Patient Information Campaign Workshop at Warwick University Campus

The Department of Health have commissioned the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement to address perceptions around healthcare associated infections. The Institute are developing a campaign and an associated suite of resources to influence public and patient attitudes around healthcare associated infections to build public confidence in clean, safe care in the NHS and to help the public understand their role in helping to alleviate the problems caused by infections.

Campaign materials and approaches are to be co-designed and co-developed with patient groups. Members of MRSA Action UK will be directly contributing through relating their experiences to obtain the patient and carer perspective and to help advise on the development of the materials, we are delighted that we were able to persuade the facilitators to draft in the help of Eileen Henderson, Assistant to Medical Director at Hull and East Yorkshire NHS Trust, with the project, she was contacted after we raised the profile of the "Give Soap a Chance" campaign with the Department of Health and the consultants working with the Institute on the project.

The four key objectives of the project are:

1. To raise the confidence of NHS staff in initiating direct communication with patients around healthcare associated infections

2. To raise public awareness of the measures being taken by the NHS to reduce healthcare associated infections and keep hospitals clean and safe

3. To inform patients of the role they can play in helping reduce healthcare associated infections

4. To inform patients and the wider public so that they have a greater understanding of facts surrounding healthcare associated infections and cleanliness

To achieve these objectives a suite of resources will be created which will include:

· Resources to help Pre-Operative Assessment staff to have the right conversations with patients

· Create resources which Communications teams can use to support an awareness raising campaign aimed at patients

· A PR toolkit to support Communications teams in dealing with the media and public regarding healthcare associated infections

· A website to host the resources

· A strategy to evaluate the effectiveness of the project

To help the Institute to create these resources staff from 10 Acute Trusts across each Strategic Health Authority will be involved.

We have worked hard to get this campaign under way and look forward to working on this project and hope to be able to help all staff have the confidence to engage with patients and carers and have the right conversations with them, and to raise awareness of the important part everyone has to play in helping to safeguard against what are largely avoidable infections.

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