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SGH steps up hand hygiene among healthcare staff

When performing procedures under sterile conditions, healthcare staff will have to remove all accessories below their elbows, including watches and rings.

SINGAPORE: The Singapore General Hospital (SGH) is making further improvements in hand hygiene among its healthcare staff.

The move is held in conjunction with World Hand Hygiene Day on May 5.

When performing procedures under sterile conditions, healthcare staff will have to remove all accessories below their elbows, including watches and rings.

Exceptions will be made for those who wear weddings bands and bracelets for religious purposes.

These, and other, changes will also apply to staff working in places such as consultation rooms in outpatient clinics.

The hospital is also aiming to raise its hand hygiene compliance rate from its current 80 per cent, to 90 per cent in the next two years.

An e-competency programme will also be launched from June onwards to test staff's knowledge on hygiene practices.

SGH said successful outcomes in hand hygiene in countries like the United Kingdom and Australia have spurred them to follow suit.

Dr Ling Moi Lin, director of Infection Control at SGH, said: "We have at this point in time implemented it as a policy, which would mean that every staff would have to comply with a proper attire.

"And the whole objective really is to help them to comply with the WHO guidelines on hand hygiene so that they can keep their hands clean, and could serve our patients well because clean hands save lives."

To inject a bit of fun into maintaining hand hygiene, a cart will be wheeled around the hospital over the next five days to test a person's hand hygiene level using an ultra-violet light. 

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