Dental professionals asked to make hand hygiene go viral

handwashThe Faculty of General Dental Practice (FGDP) (UK) and Association of Clinical Oral Microbiologists (ACOM) are asking oral health professionals to take to their social media accounts to promote good hand hygiene.

Healthcare-acquired infections affect more than four million patients a year in Europe, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, and cost around €7 billion (£5.5 billion) in additional healthcare and direct financial losses. They also exacerbate the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance by increasing the number of prescriptions for antibiotics.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says dentists have an important part to play in preventing the spread of infections, and is promoting the simple act of hand-washing through a printable poster for dental surgeries called Your 5 Moments for Hand Hygiene. 

ACOM and the FGDP(UK) are supporting the WHO’s International Hand Hygiene Day by asking dentists to join in with their ‘Thunderclap’, which at 8pm on Thursday 5 May will automatically post the message “hand hygiene supports safe dental care” to the social networks of those who sign up in advance.

The organisations’ similar collaboration last year on antimicrobial prescribing reached more than 83,000 accounts, and they are hoping for a similar impact this time. Dr Mick Horton, FGDP(UK) dean, and Dr Melanie Wilson, chair of ACOM, had this message: ‘Dental patients are in your hands, so always check what’s on your hands. Don’t spread infections, but do spread the word – sign up to our Thunderclap today, then share the link with your colleagues.’

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