“An entirely preventable infection killed my father,” says Andrea Jenkyns MP. Now she has launched the Handz campaign to promote hand hygiene.

Jenkyns says: “My father Clifford kept fit – he enjoyed boxing and his energy lit up a room. But when he went to hospital for a simple 20 minute procedure to drain his lungs, he was still in surgery over two hours later. He was being used to give medical students practice in inserting and removing lung drains.”

He caught a hospital acquired infection (HAI) at the surgery site, diagnosed as MRSA.

“I found that the procedure had been carried out in a room also used to store cleaners' buckets, which was next to a room used for patients with infections, and when he was back in hospital we saw many hygiene lapses, including failure to wash hands between patients.

“Five people died from surgical site infections while he was there. I agreed with my father that when he recovered we would launch a campaign to promote hand hygiene, but he died two days later.”

Now an MP and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Patient Safety, Jenkyns launched the Handz campaign centred on hand washing in November 2015. She urges MPs to visit schools to promote good hand hygiene.

“We also want regulatory changes. Hospitals are only required to report HAIs in the bloodstream. Only two areas report surgical infections. We want every case of HAI to be reported. Good data collection aids action,” says Jenkyns.

“I went to India in April and saw how good data collection helped eradicate polio. They also promote hand hygiene in schools. If they can do it, we can.”