Headlines: October 3rd, 2005

An online training tool has been launched to raise awareness among National Health Service staff of the key procedures needed to help reduce infection in hospitals. The system, launched by the Chief Nurse, Christine Beasley, is aimed at both clinical and non-clinical personnel.The new resource is a three-part program covering infection guidelines and principles. It has been developed by the NHS Core Learning Programmes Unit based in South Yorkshire Strategic Health Authority. It has already been piloted at a number of sites across the healthcare sector including acute services at Nottingham City Hospital, the Nottingham Primary care Trust, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health Partnership and by an NHS contactor, Medirest/Compass Group.

Staff can register for the free online training and visit topics such as hand hygiene, protection, environmental cleanliness and how to dispose of waste and sharps. They can run through various scenarios and the system keeps an ongoing individual record of how much has been learned. The new system is being seen as a vital tool to get everyone in the NHS focused on protecting both staff and patients from avoidable infection. Those taking part will also be able to print out key sections to distribute to colleagues and to check how well their part of the hospital is following the guidelines.

The training has been made available online so busy NHS staff can visit the section as and when they have time. The training stresses how everyone can contribute to reducing infection and supports the Saving Lives delivery programme, which established the framework for all staff, from the boardroom to the front line to play their part in infection control.

Christine Beasley said the innovative approach would mean thousands of NHS staff could improve their knowledge of infection control and help in driving down avoidable infections. “I would like to see everyone, from Chief Executives and consultants right through to cleaners and healthcare assistants accessing this resource and improving their knowledge and skills,” she added.