Our Hand Hygiene Programme

One of the simplest things we can all do to reduce the risk of getting or spreading an infection is to wash our hands correctly. Research clearly shows that good hand washing practices help reduce healthcare associated infections.

At Southern Cross Hospitals, hand washing is part of our Infection Prevention and Control Programme. Measures we take include:

  • providing patients and their families with education about good hand washing practices
  • providing best practice guidance to our healthcare teams
  • ensuring effective hand wash solutions are always accessible.

We also participate in the Hand Hygiene New Zealand Programme.

*Health Quality & Safety Commission Hand Hygiene
**World Health Organisation Guidelines on hand hygiene in healthcare

What is the Hand Hygiene New Zealand Programme?

In 2008 the Ministry of Health launched the World Health Organisation’s National Hand Hygiene Improvement Programme in public hospitals. The programme is aligned with international, evidence-based best practice and requires healthcare workers to always wash their hands:

  1. before touching you
  2. before starting any procedure
  3. after touching you
  4. when completing any procedure, and 
  5. after touching anything in your room.

See what you can expect from your healthcare team when it comes to hand hygiene:

Waitemata DHB Hand Hygiene

Please take the time to read the ‘Hand Hygiene for Consumers’ leaflet in your admission pack. You can download a copy hereAnd you can see how best to wash your hands here.

Measuring hand hygiene

A new form of auditing, called an observational audit, was introduced to measure the timing and quality of hand hygiene practices, and to identify areas for improvement. Training was provided in public hospitals and the Health Quality & Safety Commission (HQSC) set a target for public hospitals of 80% compliance.

In 2013 Southern Cross Hospitals extended our existing hand hygiene campaign to align with the national programme, including training our staff to audit the five hand hygiene ‘moments’ above. We are now introducing an electronic auditing application to refine this process even further.

How well are we doing at hand hygiene?

Although Southern Cross Hospitals aligned to the national hand washing programme five years after the public hospitals, our progression over time has been consistent with the national District Health Board (DHB) results. 

We audit all hospital areas, including operating rooms. The Health Quality & Safety Commission audit data does not include operating rooms, so it is difficult for us to directly compare our results. To address this, we’ll change how we report to align with the Health Quality & Safety Commission over the next six months.

Hand Hygiene Performance Rates for Doctors*

01NOV 2017
31MAR 2018


01NOV 2017
31MAR 2018


01NOV 2017
31MAR 2018


*Data limitations: The HQSC rate is for public hospitals only, the HHA figure represents a combined rate for public and private hospitals.

What else do we do to reduce the risk of infection?

Hand Hygiene is just one example from our Infection Prevention and Control Programme. See Infection Risk Reduction for information on other aspects of our Programme.