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Now wash your hands ­ as often as your nurse

Nurses are far more likely to wash their hands than GPs after seeing patients, research by Dr Alan Stone's Cardiff practice finds. An audit of soap use at the practice revealed its two nurses used more than twice as much soap in a year than even the most conscientious of the three GPs (BMJ, 2003: 327).

The result echoes the findings of infection control studies in hospitals.

'It could be argued that nurses do more hands-on work than doctors, and it's also partly the pressure of our workload,' said Dr Stone. 'I appreciate it may be a bit of an own goal, some further embarrassment to the medical profession, but it gives us an opportunity to do something about it.'

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