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CALL TO DITCH HOSPITAL TOYS; New move to fight infection.

Byline: By LIAM MURPHY

HOSPITAL visitors were today advised to ditch cards and cuddly toys as part of the fight against superbugs.

Arrowe Park and Clatterbridge said toiletries and tissues were better get-well gifts for patients.

Staff at the two hospitals said the support of visitors was vital in the fight against MRSA and C-difficile - and hand washing was the first step.

As part of the relaunch of the Hospital Cleaning Standards, which started this week, the trust that runs both centres asked well-wishers to "think twice" about their gifts.

Senior infection control nurse Carmel Edwards said: "Cards and cuddly toys are lovely but they can get in the way of regular cleaning.

"We want to make sure that our wards are cleaned to the highest standard, but it can be very difficult to clean a bed area which is cluttered.

"We are asking visitors to consider bringing other practical gifts, such as toiletries, tissues, fruit or wrapped sweets which can be easily tidied away in a bedside locker.

"We know some patients worry about contracting an infection, but we want to reassure them we are doing everything possible to ensure their treatment is a success and the hospital experience is positive.

"They should feel free to tell a member of staff if the hygiene standards are not being met."

The trust's maternity unit is free of MRSA, but bosses said infection control was still the top priority.

New posters reminding patients and visitors about the spread of infections are being displayed in wards from this week and leaflets are being issued to every patient.

Earlier this year, managers said patients should expect staff directly involved in their care to wear short sleeved uniforms or garments with rolled up sleeves, as another infection-control measure.

In February, the trust announced patients would be screened for MRSA before coming into Arrowe Park, Clatterbridge, St Catherine's in Birkenhead and Wallasey's Victoria community hospital after high rates of the superbug were observed.
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jun 24, 2008
Words:328
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