"Understanding how germs spread"

About: Rotherham Hospital / General surgery

(as a relative),

The ward which my wife is in had a bug detected so the staff and visitors were told to put on apron and gloves, which they conformed to.

The doctors came in on their ward rounds and did not bother to put the gloves and aprons on.

As my wife has just had a big operation I am concerned. Is it that they are excluded from the precautions? They will probably go onto other wards. I can understand now why some bugs spread over the hospital.

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Response from Grace Oldfield, Patient Involvement Manager, Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust

Dear brickman, thank you for your posting on the Patients Opinion web site. We were most concerned to hear of your observation that any of our staff are failing to comply with prevention of infection precautions and would be grateful if you could contact us directly on 01709 424461 to identify the relevant area and take appropriate action.

Our Infection Control team have advised that when a patient is found to have an infected wound, the bay in which they are nursed is treated as ‘in isolation’ until the other patients in the bay can have their status clarified (through swabs). The precautions we require our staff to take are that they must wear aprons and gloves for any contact with the patients in that bay (or the environment such as bed making etc) and that these gloves and aprons must be changed between each patient.

For those not providing direct care e.g. passing a cup of tea or asking a question, do not need to wear a glove or apron nor is it necessary for visitors to use gloves and aprons unless they are visiting more than one person, or if they are providing personal care. We do, of course, request that upon arrival and departure all visitors clean their hands either by washing them or use of alcohol gel provided.

Providing the doctors were not making physical contact with any of the patients in the relevant bay they would not have needed to put gloves and aprons on when coming into that bay, but we appreciate how worrying it is when you have been given to understand differently. To that end we have asked our Infection Control team to ensure staff of any areas that currently have precautionary isolation bays, to understand their responsibility to consistently communicate the required precautions with all staff, relevant patients and their visitors.

As a hospital with a strong track record in minimising infection transmission, we are never complacent and continue to audit all staff compliance with hand washing on a monthly basis.

We would like to thank you for alerting us to your concern.

With best wishes,


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