The IPC Team at Burton’s Queen’s Hospital

A team of Burton nurses have been shortlisted for two national awards for their work to reduce the spread of infections at Queen’s Hospital.

The Infection Prevention and Control Team (IPCT) have been shortlisted for Infection Prevention and Control Society Team of The Year and the IPC Award at The Nursing Times following their highly successful campaign, ‘United Colours of Gram Negative Reduction’.

Gram Negative bacteria can be very dangerous and develop through improper hygiene and can cause infections such as pneumonia, bloodstream infections and infections in wounds. The infections are becoming increasingly resistant to treatment via antibiotics.

The scheme was implemented following targets set by the Department of Health to reduce Gram Negative Bloodstream Infections by 50 per cent by 2021. Since the team rolled out their campaign, they have already seen reductions as large as 42 per cent in hospital acquired E coli.

Julie Clarke, Lead IPC Nurse at Burton’s Queen’s Hospital, said that she was proud of her team and delighted that their hard work has been recognised: “When we heard that we had been nominated for one award, we were stunned and even more so when we found out we’d been nominated for a second. I’m so proud of the team and all of the hard work that they’ve done. It’s been all about engaging staff, especially across the Derby and Burton sites, so if we win we will be picking it up on behalf of all of the staff who work so hard.”

The team focused on tackling six key areas that enable Gram Negative bacteria to thrive, which are ensuring that patients are well hydrated, CAUTI which is reducing catheter related urinary tract infections, hand and dental hygiene, general hygiene and getting patients mobile, incorporating the End PJ-Paralysis campaign which aimed to get patients up and changed out of their pyjamas to aid a quicker recovery.

Julie said: “We haven’t reinvented the wheel, we just looked at what we already had in place and tried to put everything under one umbrella term and engage more staff.

“When we interact with patients it’s important to be mindful of ways to prevent infection but sometimes tasks like oral hygiene can feel like a ‘small tasks’. Our campaign has pulled together those ‘small tasks’ to show how together they make a big impact on fighting infections.”

Such has been the success of the campaign, other organisations are looking to implement the team’s campaign at their sites, which is something that fills Julie with pride. She added: “It’s really exciting to see it potentially being rolled out elsewhere. We got lots of positive feedback for the campaign on Twitter and I think that’s because it’s such a positive campaign. We’ve focused on highlighting the importance of the day-to-day roles because they are so important in fighting against Gram Negative infections.

“There are a number of other sites interested in implementing the campaign, including the Royal Derby, Staffordshire Infection Control and the Derbyshire Healthcare Economy with the focus on reducing occurrences of Gram Negative infections in the community so that we see less of these cases in our hospitals.”

Julie also added that by encouraging staff to take more time to ensure patients are doing the little things that make a difference in reducing Gram Negative infections that more benefits have been felt: “By encouraging staff to engage even more with patients by making sure they brush their teeth or go to the toilet, it’s helped them to get talking and has broken down a lot of psychological barriers.”

The ceremony for the Infection Prevention and Control Society Team of The Year will be held on Monday, 1 October, and a few weeks later the team find out if they have won The Nursing Times’ IPC Award on Wednesday, 31 October.