Ottawa

Half of medical staff in Outaouais not washing hands

One out of every two employees at hospitals and clinics in the Outaouais is failing to wash their hands before and after caring for patients, according to data compiled by Radio-Canada.

When it comes to doctors, just 3 in 10 are soaping up before seeing patients

The Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux de l'Outaouais has one of the lowest rates of compliance in Quebec when it comes to handwashing by staff. (CBC)

One out of every two employees at hospitals and clinics in the Outaouais is failing to wash their hands before and after caring for patients, according to data compiled by Radio-Canada.

Between last April and this January, the compliance rate for handwashing at institutions overseen by the Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux de l'Outaouais (CISSSO) was just 50 per cent, among the lowest in Quebec.

Over the same period one year earlier, the overall compliance rate in the Outaouais was 65 per cent. Province-wide, compliance was at 61 per cent last year, while Quebec's health ministry is striving for a rate of 75 per cent.

The picture gets even worse when the scope is narrowed to doctors, only three in 10 of whom are washing their hands.

Marcel Guilbaut, president of the association that represents physicians in western Quebec, said he believes the high level of pressure under which doctors are working could be a contributing factor.

He said he often hears from doctors who feel overwhelmed by their caseload, and are rushing from patient to patient.

CISSSO has said it plans to develop an action plan to deal with the issue, focusing on raising awareness among staff, continuous training and reminders, and more hand disinfectant available near hospital rooms.

with files from Radio-Canada

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