Obviously I'm in favour of tight infection controls in hospitals, but don't you feel for the mitts of the staff having to wash them dozens of times a day? They must get red raw.

There is a marketing opportunity there for cosmetics companies; if I was a clinician I would be rushing home to coat my hands in luxurious hand cream and put them in thick cotton gloves, like a hand model or film star.

At HSJ Towers our needs are clearly not as great, but I was recently in a new-build hospital wing in which you could barely move without seeing another wall-mounted sanitising gel dispenser. I am now tempted to ask facilities staff if we can get some here. But the first step would be to get people to wash their hands properly.

I hasten to add that I don't spend hours of my working day in the toilets, but of late I have noticed that it is not often you see people washing their hands in the time honoured soap-and-water, in between the fingers and back of the hands fashion.

Wet hair

In one rather revolting incidence last week I noticed a woman leave a cubicle only to merely dip her finger tips under the tap, before skipping the washing bit altogether and using the water to do something to her hair. Clearly she had not made the connection between what she had been doing two minutes before and what she had now put on her hair.

Colleagues remember sessions at school on how to wash their hands, presumably at peak cold-catching times of the year when teachers hoped to drum personal hygiene into youngsters liable to wipe their snotty noses with their fingers.

I have only vague recollections of similar sessions as they have been superseded by memories of both parents - and a neighbour - standing over me at various times to make sure I was soaping up in the appropriate way. They weren't hygiene freaks but NHS staff, although the two probably count as the same thing these days.

But as winter nears I fear in large offices all it would take is one person with flu or some other bug to come in, not wash their hands and then touch a door handle or two and we would all go down like ninepins. It is time for hygiene checks in workplaces across the land. Who's with me?