Member Feedback - Draft Standard

Posted on December 22, 2014

Dear Together Member

We invite you to comment on the Australian Standard on Placement and Presentation of Hand Hygiene Materials in Healthcare Settings

Brief Background

  1. Health care associated infections are a major and growing issue in hospitals
  2. Compliance with hand washing by clinical staff is suboptimal
  3. A study done in the Princess Alexandra Hospital’s Emergency Dept showed up to 6% of staff hesitating or washing their hands with hand lotion rather than soap because it was very difficult to distinguish between the soap and the hand lotion. They were both in virtually identical containers and they were arranged randomly at the  sink – the soap on the left of the taps at some sinks and at the right of the taps at other sinks.

Australian Standard

  1. This was proposed by QEMRF (Qld Emergency Medicine Foundation), of which Together Queensland is a founding Trustee.
  2. Dr Michael Sinnott from the PA hospital is the Together Representative on the Standard Committee
  3. The Standard is now “Open for Public Comment” – but only until  Thursday 5th of February
  4. A copy of the draft standard is here.
  5. The draft standard provides for handwash stations to be set out in a particular configuration and for soap, lotion and alcohol solutions to be colour coded. 

Concerns with draft standard

The concerns raised with Together so far include the colour of the alcohol hand rub and the method of colour coding.

Dark grey has been proposed for colour coding for the alcohol solution. There is a concern that this will blend in with the background and be harder to find than a bright red, orange or pink colour. This will undermine the effectiveness of this important Standard. The intention is to make this an International Standard and therefore the compliance cost and inconvenience to drug companies and industry will be a one-off and will benefit them in the long run. 

It is proposed that the colour coding be implemented through either "wall or benchtop backing" (preferred in the draft) or coloured "containers, dispensers or brackets". 

Concerns have been raised that the "backing" method will create a potentially significant cost impost on the hospital and therefore detract from patient care. The alternative (bracket, bottle etc) will present a very modest cost to suppliers/industry.

We therefore propose Together provides feedback to the standards committee to the effect that: 

  1. The Alcohol based hand rub should be a bright colour – bright, red, orange or pink
  2. The Standards Committee should decide on the best colour
  3. Coloured containers, dispensers and brackets – should be the only choice and should be mandatory

What you can do

Please endorse or provide any additional feedback to the standard to health@together.org.au; or provide your feedback to the standard directly as per the below details.

  1. Access the Standards Website https://sapc.standards.org.au/sapc/public/listOpenCommentingPublication.action
    1. Click on submit comments for the “Placement and presentation of hand hygiene materials in healthcare settings
    2. New users to get registered first
    3. Enter user name and password and follow prompts

If members are seeking to support the preliminary position above please do so by making the following comments directly to the standards committee.

Referring to page 8 of the Draft Standard:

  1. Page 8 - 3.2 Colouring 
    • Alcohol based hand rub should be a bright colour – bright, red, orange or pink
    • Committee should decide on the best colour – regardless of the small potential inconvenience to drug companies and industry to comply
    • Reasons
      • Dark grey will blend in with the background and be harder to find than a bright red, orange or pink colour. It will undermine the effectiveness of this important Standard
      • Our intention is to make this an International Standard and thus the cost and inconvenience to drug companies and industry will be a one-off and will benefit them in the long run
  2. Page 8 - 3.3 Methods
    • Backing (wall or benchtop) paragraph needs to be deleted
    • Reasons
      • The cost of this will be millions of dollars across the country for hospitals to bear (Estimate $100-200 per sink and a big hospital must have hundreds of sinks)
      • Money will come out of patient care if hospitals are forced to cover the costs
    • Coloured container, dispensers and brackets – should be the only choice and should be mandatory 
    • Reasons
      • Patient safety must come before short term inconvenience for multinational drug companies and industry
      • The cost for Industry will be minimal –the Solution is not affected – just colouring of a bracket or a container.
      •  We hope that drug companies and industry will jump at the chance to improve Patient Care in our hospitals

 

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1800 177 244
members@together.org.au
Connect today 1800 177 244 members@together.org.au