Hygiene: Conwy and Denbighshire trust

Conwy and Denbighshire trust is involved in the Health Foundation's Safer Patients initiative, and through this we are working with the US-based Institute for Healthcare Improvement on a wide-ranging change package that aims to reduce preventable adverse events. One of the areas we are looking at is how to reduce infection rates.

Through a systematic spread strategy, together with extensive clinical engagement, we are seeing some impressive sustainable results.

For example, in intensive care we have introduced a range of interventions which have led to improvements in infection rates. We have also seen a reduction in time on assisted ventilation and a reduced average length of stay.

Unanticipated outcomes include a reduction in mortality rates, decreased tracheostomy rates and patients reporting fewer nightmares. Despite 20 per cent more patients being treated, the cost saving on drugs has been over£100,000 over 18 months.

We have achieved over 95 per cent compliance with hand-washing in our pilot areas and this is now being spread trust-wide.

As part of a patient safety awareness week, we invited entries for a slogan to reflect our campaign. A member of the public came up with the winning entry: 'Patient safety is contagious - pass it on!'

The Health Foundation has now launched the second phase of the initiative and up to 16 hospitals will be selected to join in November.

Annette Bartley is head of modernisation at Conwy and Denbighshire trust