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Preventing Infections

We all have a part to play!

We are committed to preventing healthcare associated infections (HCAIs), including MRSA and Clostridium difficile. Patient safety is our number one clinical priority and there is a Trust-wide infection prevention and control programme aimed at preventing and reducing infections.

  Click here to access the Infection Control Information to Patients

Visiting a patient in Derby Teaching Hospitals? - click here for infection control information

We can all play a part – Clean Your Hands!

We are committed to improving patient safety by reducing and preventing infections. You can help keep our hospitals clean and reduce the risk of spreading infection – help us deliver that knock-out blow!  

Cleaning your hands is the most effective way of preventing germs being passed from one person to another. It is easy too!

Our hospitals wards have alcohol gel dispensers by most beds and at the entrances to all wards for staff and visitors to use to help stop the spread of germs.

Who should wash hands?

All of us – including patients, visitors and staff on a regular basis.  It is an ‘everybody responsibility.’

When should you wash hands?

Visitors should wash their hands (with soap and water):

  • After visiting the toilet
  • Before eating/handling food
  • If your hands are dirty
  • Before visiting a patient and again immediately after leaving the patient

Don’t be afraid to ask

If a member of staff needs to examine you or perform a procedure, do not be afraid to ask them if they have cleaned their hands.  We would encourage you to challenge staff so that they are constantly reminded of the importance of clean hands. Remember – it’s okay to ask.

If a member of staff needs to examine you or perform a procedure, do not be afraid to ask them if they have cleaned their hands.  We would encourage you to challenge staff so that they are constantly reminded of the importance of clean hands.


Norovirus is a virus which causes diarrhoea and/or vomiting. The illness caused is often referred to as ‘winter vomiting disease’. Although it is true there is an increase in winter months, cases do occur throughout the year.

The sudden onset of severe vomiting is usually the first symptom of Norovirus; some people will then go on to develop diarrhoea. In general, the symptoms usually last for 24-72 hours. Those affected can feel ‘washed out’ for a couple of days after symptoms end. There are no long-term effects of Norovirus and most people will make a full recovery within 48 hours.

Norovirus is highly infectious and is spread in a number of ways: by direct contact with the vomit or diarrhoea of an infected person; after direct contact with an infected person; by eating food which has been prepared and/or contaminated (infected) by someone with the illness such as fruit; by eating undercooked shellfish from polluted waters such as oysters or prawns; or by swallowing the virus after having had contact with contaminated equipment or surfaces.

Particular attention to good hygiene should be taken if you have Norovirus. It is important to wash your hands with soap and water after using the toilet and before eating and drinking. Norovirus is likely to affect everyone who is exposed.

Can visitors catch Norovirus?

Yes, Norovirus is very infectious. It is important visitors do not visit if they have any symptoms of the illness and for 48 hours after the symptoms have resolved. Click here to read key instructions and advice for visitors.


We have robust protocols for tackling MRSA which are based on national guidelines for MRSA prevention and control.

A crucial part of our MRSA control measures involves screening patients for the infection. In December 2010 we began screening emergency patients. This practice complements the MRSA screening of elective patients, which has been carried out by the Trust since April 2009.

This practice, which is following national guidance, is aimed at reducing the number of instances of MRSA brought into, and passed on, in hospitals. MRSA is carried harmlessly on skin by as many as one in 12 people.

Emergency screening is for all patients, with the exception of maternity and paediatrics, unless in a high risk group such as patients previously having been identified as MRSA positive or transferred from another healthcare facility.
An admission screen consists of a nasal swab and swabs of areas of non-intact skin, such as pressure sores or leg ulcers, and invasive devices, such as peripheral lines or cannulas, if present. 

Clostridium difficile

Clostridium difficile (known as C diff) is a bacterium that lives harmlessly in the bowel of about 3% of people. In healthy people, C diff lives in balance with many other good bacteria in the bowel and does not cause harm. If the balance of C, diff and good bacteria is upset (for example when taking antibiotics) the good bacteria may be killed and C diff can then multiply rapidly and produce toxins. It is the toxins produced by C diff that cause inflammation in the bowel and diarrhoea.

Elderly patients, patients who have received antibiotics, and those whose resistance is lowered by chronic or serious ill health, surgery, or drugs are more likely to be made ill by C diff. Most patients will improve within a few days, but approximately 20% of patients will experience recurrence of diarrhoea symptoms up to several weeks after treatment has finished.

C diff spreads on hands person-to-person. It is always important to wash your hands after using the toilet and before handling food or eating and drinking.

Find out more:

MRSA information - click here.

C difficile information - click here.

Norovirus information - click here.

Influenza information - click here.