Infection Control Practices within the Diagnostic Imaging Department

Electronic versions


  • Carolyn Dumbarton

    Research areas

  • PhD, School of Healthcare Sciences


This study investigated radiographers' infection control practice within the Diagnostic Imaging Department. The investigation was carried out in three phases. Structured observations were carried out in four ~ospitals to determine the frequency and identify the situations in which infection control procedures were performed. Bacterial analysis was performed on equipment in one hospital to identify levels of contamination associated with the lack of cleaning witnessed during the observational study. Finally Focus Group discussions were used in two hospitals to establish the opinions and attitudes of radiographers regarding infection control, and to identify factors that prevented as well as those that facilitated these practices. Radiographers' compliance with infection control practice was low. Hand decontamination prior to patient contact was observed on only (n:::;J4) 4% of occasions, and afterwards on (n=145) 17% of occasions. Infection control practice was frequently inappropriate when radiographers were dealing with situations involving immunosuppress~d patients, those with open wounds, and in the handling ofneedles. Equipment \vas cleaned on only (n=30) 4% ofoccasions. It was found that 56% of the pieces of equipment were found to have. unacceptable levels of bacterial contamination. However, after simple decont'411ination the measure of bacterial load was significantly reduced. The Focus Group discussions indicated that radiographers had good levels of knowledge regarding infection control, but issues such as lack oftime and resources, low perceived risk ofinfection and the culture ofthe departments and NHS trusts had a negative effect on compliance rates. For maximum compliance it is thought that a multifaceted intervention should be implemented. The researcher believes the use of Quality Circles would develop a culture that would encourage compliance with infection control protocols. Better compliance with infection control protocols achieved through changes in education, procedures and culture in the Diagnostic Imaging Department are therefore, vital to protect both patients and staff.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Bangor University
  • Frederick Murphy (Supervisor)
Award dateJan 2007