81 percent of vet practice workers are unaware of important infection prevention standards they need to comply with to minimise hygiene risks, according to new research by the professional division of Miele.
In the research conducted at the 2019 Vet Show, more than eight out of ten respondents had not heard of the Water Regulations Advisory Scheme (WRAS), which ensures that any fluid presenting a serious health hazard such as faecal material, harmful bacteria and pathogens, does not contaminate the main water supply.
Vet practices are meant to use commercial washing machines tested and approved to WRAS category five.
46 percent of vet practice workers surveyed, including vets, nurses and assistants, either suspect or know for definite that their current laundry equipment doesn’t meet the required times and temperatures needed to kill bacteria.
This lack of awareness comes despite 97 percent of respondents agreeing that laundry processes are important for infection prevention within their respective practices.
The research showed that 41 percent of those surveyed throw heavily contaminated items away to reduce infection, whilst 57 percent wash these soiled items within their practice. This suggests a need for more awareness surrounding laundry processes and its ability to help control infection and reduce waste.
Simon Hart, national account manager of Miele Professional said: “Minimising infection is a high priority for vet practices, but it appears as if many practice workers are unaware of the prevention methods available to them and the standards they need to comply with when it comes to laundry. Making sure the washing machines within their practice are able to avoid the spread of harmful bacteria, whilst educating themselves and staff on the correct temperatures will also reduce associated risks.
“For example, employees should be aware that health guidelines state that to kill bacteria, contaminated laundry should be washed at above 65°C for at least ten minutes, 71°C for at least three minutes or 82°C for at least one minute”.
The research was conducted by Miele at the 2019 Vet Show, which was held at the ExCeL, London. The event provided a venue for companies working within the vet industry to showcase their innovative products and new technologies. Miele Professional was in attendance to offer advice on infection control through using commercial laundry appliances.
Commenting on the show, Simon Hart concluded: “We had a really positive reception at the Vet Show this year, and it was fantastic to meet so many people who work in busy veterinary environments. With laundry being such a high priority for infection prevention, we had lots of enquires about the benefits of using a commercial equipment rather than a domestic appliance. For instance, one common theme was the unreliability of domestic machines – and, how regular breakdowns cause laundry backlogs. Professional laundry equipment can save vets time and money due to its longevity; it can also minimise infection through improved disinfection capabilities.”