Gloves off, wash your hands

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Newcastle Hospitals staff are reminded to wash their hands and only wear gloves when necessary – as the overuse of gloves carries risks of healthcare-acquired infection, skin irritation and is damaging to the environment.

Gloves have been a fundamental part of personal protective equipment throughout the Covid 19 pandemic for NHS staff. However, this has meant that the excess gloves used at Newcastle Hospitals throughout the pandemic was equal to 21 tonnes in weight – the same as 16 minis coopers or one wind turbine.

As part of our commitment to reduce our impact on the environment, in line with our Climate Emergency Strategy, we want to significantly reduce this waste. We are supporting colleagues to change their practice and only use gloves when necessary – they are not a substitute for good and effective hand hygiene. 

Gloves are one of the most common plastic items used in healthcare and should only be worn when a risk to your health and safety is present. Staff can be reassured that good hand washing is a highly effective way of protecting yourself from viruses such as COVID-19, which means you can reduce glove use safely when they are not required. 

In the NHS we all have a key role in helping to make healthcare more sustainable and helping the environment. Using fewer gloves is better for staff, patients and the environment.

We know there are cases when gloves are needed, for more information about appropriate use of gloves, please click here

Further details on hand hygiene and effective hand washing can be found here

For more information please contact kimberley.williams-davies@nhs.net