Skin Diseases: Hygiene

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 15th September 2020.

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Photo of Paul Beresford Paul Beresford Conservative, Mole Valley

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment the Government has made of the (a) effect of alcohol-based hand sanitisers on people with skin conditions and (b) effectiveness of alternatives available to people who cannot use alcohol-based hand sanitisers due to skin conditions or allergies.

Photo of Paul Beresford Paul Beresford Conservative, Mole Valley

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of guidance on hand sanitisers for people who cannot use alcohol-based hand rubs as a result of (a) eczema, (b) dermatitis, (c) other skin conditions and (d) allergy reactions.

Photo of Paul Beresford Paul Beresford Conservative, Mole Valley

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will undertake a review of whether alcohol-free hand sanitisers which are independently lab-certified to be effective can be included in public guidance alongside alcohol-based products.

Photo of Rosie Cooper Rosie Cooper Labour, West Lancashire

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of guidance on hand sanitiser for people who cannot use alcohol-based hand rubs as a result of (a) eczema, (b) dermatitis and (c) other skin conditions.

Photo of Rosie Cooper Rosie Cooper Labour, West Lancashire

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to protect NHS staff from skin conditions or a worsening of existing skin conditions as a result of the drying effects of alcohol-based hand rubs.

Photo of Jo Churchill Jo Churchill The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Providers of National Health Service care in England use the evidence cited and ensure that appropriate training is provided to health care workers in hand hygiene, providers also ensure that products are purchased that are consistent with the best available evidence. All healthcare workers have access to occupational health assessment and are referred for assessment and treatment in the event of developing skin complications. Using the guidelines, recommendations made by occupational health are followed by NHS providers as part of risk assessment and mitigation for the individual and the patient.

As Health and Safety Executive guidance for the general public states, and in line with WHO guidance, alcohol does not have to be “active ingredients” to be effective in hand sanitizer. The World Health Organization recommend that hand sanitiser should contain a minimum of 60% alcohol, but non-alcohol based sanitisers can also be effective when combined with other social distancing measures.

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