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North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust - 70 years of the NHS

Hand Hygiene

Hand hygiene is considered to be the single most important practice in reducing the transmission of infectious agents.


Patients are encouraged to ask members of staff who are providing their care to clean their hands before contact.

Hand hygiene training is mandatory for all staff. Hand hygiene compliance is monitored and audited monthly on every ward and department and particular attention is focussed on the World Health Organisation five moments for hand hygiene.

Staff, patients and visitors are all reminded to follow the 10 stages of hand hygiene when in our hospitals. The posters are displayed on all wards, departments and in the hospitals' public toilets too.

Bare Below the Elbows

It is Trust policy for all clinical staff to be ‘bare below the elbows’ at all times when having patient contact and in the clinical area’

‘Bare Below the Elbows’ means:

  •  Removing outside jackets and white coats.
  •  Having short/rolled up sleeves.
  •  Removing all wrist jewellery including watches prior to starting work.
  •  Wearing only a plain ring.
  •  Not wearing false nails, varnish and gels.
  •  Nails must be kept short
  •  Covering cuts and abrasions with an impermeable waterproof dressing

Hand Gel/Hand Rub

Hand rub stations are located at all ward and department entrances as well as main entrances. There are also hand rubs at every bed side to enable everyone to have easy access to decontaminate their hands.


Hand rub is not effective with some infections such as Norovirus, Clostridium difficile and Influenza. In these situations the Trust will do all they can to remind everyone to wash hands with soap and water.

Our Trust has produced a video demonstrating how to wash your hands correctly.

Or for a fun, Gangnam Style alternative, visit .