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Doctors in Australia are less hygienic than nurses: study

world Updated: Oct 20, 2009 11:20 IST

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Doctors in Australia wash hands less than nurses after attending a patient, a research says.

While 60 per cent of doctors do not wash their hands after attending a patient, it was found that less than 40 per cent nurses do the same.

An Australian epidemiology expert has asked doctors to maintain hygiene after the research, conducted by New South Wales University and New South Wales Clinical Excellence Commission, has shown that 65 per cent nurses and 40 per cent doctors wash their hands after attending to a patient.

The research has been reported in the latest edition of Medical Journal of Australia.

Mary-Louise McLaws, an Associate Professor said the research should usher in an improvement after a hygiene campaign among doctors.

"After contact with a patient no matter what you do, you need to cleanse your hands," she said adding "I think this will be a wake-up call for them".

"Certainly during the intervention they improved about up to the rate where nurses were in the beginning; they then slipped back into their old ways" she said.

Health workers should be encouraged to remind each other of their hygiene responsibility, McLaws said.

"We should be empowering doctors and nurses to remind each other gently and politely, and of course doctors will need to have special research so that we can find out what are the barriers and facilitators that we don't understand that prevent them from hand-hygiening".