Patient Safety Week update – 13 July 2018

13 Jul 2018 | Aotearoa Patient Safety Day

Patient Safety Week 2018

When: 4 to 10 November 2018
Theme: Infection prevention and control – the importance of good hand hygiene/are you giving germs a hand?

Planning for Patient Safety Week 2018 is well underway. The topic this year is infection prevention and control with a specific focus on good hand hygiene. This year we are partnering with the Ministry of Health and ACC to promote the week. We have had two meetings of our sector ‘ideas group’ and they have given some valuable input into development and refinement of our resources.

Activity for the week will take place between 4 and 10 November, however we will also be running a nationwide poster competition in schools from August, and the winner will be announced during PSW 2018. The competition is aimed at children in years five to eight and asks them to create a poster about the importance of hand hygiene in preventing antimicrobial resistance.

The focus for the public will be ‘hand hygiene’, and for the sector that ‘good hand hygiene helps stop the spread of antibiotic resistant infections’. The week following Patient Safety Week is World Antibiotic Awareness Week, and for that week we will continue the focus on minimising antimicrobial resistance (AMR), so continued hand hygiene promotion will be relevant.

Why hand hygiene?

The theme of hand hygiene/AMR has been chosen because:

  • hand hygiene is the simplest, most effective way to prevent bugs that cause infections. There is variability in how well people working in the health sector practice good hand hygiene, and how well people practice good hand hygiene at home, at school and in the community.
  • good hand hygiene in the home and community is important to prevent spread of infection within families and whānau. 
  • reducing infections through good hand hygiene not only lessens the need for antibiotics to treat infections, but also reduces the opportunity for the bugs that cause infections to develop resistance to the antibiotics.


The aim of the promotion is to encourage consumers to understand why hand hygiene is important for their health and the health of others; and to encourage health professionals to practice good hand hygiene for consumers.


  • Health consumers with an emphasis on:
    • hospital in-patients
    • visitors to hospital
    • primary school-aged children
    • Māori, Pacific and Asian populations
    • community groups (eg, sports teams, churches, community halls)
    • support networks of our audiences (eg, parents of young children). 
  • Health professionals who have direct patient contact including:
    • general practitioners
    • hospital staff
    • all workers involved in the delivery of health care.


Draft poster with a hand holding cartoon drawings of bacteria.We have used an illustrator to develop the look and feel of our resources as well as some ‘bug’ characters which you’ll see used throughout the week. We are testing the resources with consumers and clinicians, before they are finalised. An example of these is included here.

Using illustrations enables us to simply and visually communicate key messages to audience groups in an informative and respectful way.

These characters will be able to be used in a number of ways, including animation.


Based on feedback from previous years, we are taking a ‘less is more’ approach when it comes to resources. Using the creative in various ways, we are developing the following:

  • posters aimed at specific audiences (these will be available in English, te reo Māori, Samoan and Tongan)
  • animation of the bug characters for social media, websites and intranets
  • promotion and advertising on social media
  • a poster competition about antimicrobial resistance which will be promoted in schools
  • a colouring-in competition for younger children
  • media/PR strategy.

A major promotion for the week will be the poster competition being run in primary schools across the country. Judging will take place and the winner announced during Patient Safety Week.

District health boards and other providers will be invited to place orders for the resources they would like. The order form will be available in September. Some numbers may be capped for budget reasons.

Social media

We are planning to use social media (paid and unpaid) to communicate with consumers and health professionals.

One idea is to post a ‘bug of the day’ on social media encouraging interaction and social engagement by asking simple questions about each bug eg, where is it commonly found? What is the name of the bug? And posting the answer later in the day. We will also encourage retweeting and sharing of the posts by asking a question eg, ‘like’ for yes or ‘share’ for no. The animations could appear on websites as well as social media.

We’ll be spending the next few months working these ideas up further and establishing which of them we are able to do.


Resource orders open: 10 September 2018
Resource orders close: 26 September 2018
Resources delivered: 22–29 October 2018
Patient Safety Week: 4–11 November 2018


We encourage you to contact us with any ideas you have for promoting hand hygiene and antimicrobial resistance in your workplace. We will do a lucky draw (for a staff morning tea) from all Patient Safety Week competition ideas that are received by 10 August. We’ll share these ideas nationwide to help everyone in their planning.

Feedback or enquiries

If you have feedback or questions, please contact the team at Further updates will also be available on the Commission’s website:


Last updated 24/08/2018