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NGH infection control team win national environmental award for reducing waste

MR1357 Green Award IPC team 2

L-R Associate Director of Infection Prevention & Control (IPC), Holly Slyne, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Co-ordinator, Jasmine Lowdon, and Matron for Infection Prevention and Control, Ros Pounds.

The Infection Prevention and Control Team at Northampton General Hospital have won a national environmental award.

The nine-strong team – which helps hospital staff to prevent infections and fight bugs such as Covid-19 and norovirus – have won the Best Waste Reduction Project in the national Investors in the Environment Awards 2022.

The NGH team’s ‘be PPE free’ campaign concentrated on reducing excessive use of personal protective equipment (PPE) like gloves and aprons where it wasn’t necessary.

They observed staff habits and found out where inappropriate use was happening before holding an eight-week internal awareness campaigns and then measuring the impact of the campaign on PPE use. The results showed the campaign had:

  • Increased staff knowledge of appropriate PPE use by 86% - surpassing the team’s original goal of 20%.
  • Achieved a 4.3% reduction in inappropriate glove use and a 22.1% reduction in inappropriate apron use across 2 months.
  • Over a year it would reduce plastic glove waste by 96.5kg and plastic apron waste by 221kg
  • Over a year it would reduce the hospitals carbon footprint by 25,974 kgCO2e and save £22,687

The award entry came from Northampton General Hospital’s Associate Director of Infection Prevention & Control (IPC) Holly Slyne and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Co-ordinator Jasmine Lowdon.

Holly said: “We wanted to reduce the amount of PPE being used unnecessarily and started by observing how staff were using it. Like many hospitals we found areas where it would be better for staff not to use gloves and aprons and instead simply wash their hands – for example writing in notes, taking patient observations, and when supporting patient transfers.

“We established how much PPE was being used before we started our campaign and then campaigned for eight weeks using short education videos posted on facebook and staff Whatsapp groups, along with posters, computer screensavers and by giving educational messages at staff meetings.

“We were delighted that the campaign worked so well and exceeded the original goals we had set for ourselves. We have continued creating new monthly PPE videos to sustain and embed the success of this project and incorporate them into annual IPC mandatory refresher training and internal infection prevention and control campaigns.”

Northampton General Hospital’s Director of Nursing, Debra Shanahan, said: “I am pleased and proud that our amazing, and very hard-working, infection prevention and control team have done so well in this prestigious national environmental award.

“Our ward staff are also to be acknowledged as they completely engaged with the campaign.

“We have also been asked to work with other NHS organisations to help to reduce overuse of PPE across the system and the team also presented their work at a national IPC Conference held in October.”

Posted on Thursday 22nd December 2022
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