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News & Views > Hands Up for Max

Hands Up for Max

September 11, 2015

Max4Health is a self-funded, self-motivated campaign that I set up after recovering from leukaemia. During my stay in a regional hospital I contracted MRSA after a nurse transferred the MRSA virus into my Hickmen line after touching me with unclean hands.

Max4Health was my first Culture Change project at Southampton Hospital in 2007

I felt the infection take hold almost immediately and almost died as a consequence. Initially, Hands Up for Max was created in response to this; a simple message reminding people to wash their hands and take off watches before touching others. Now, Max is a symbol for proper hygiene and cleanliness in hospitals, food hygiene services and schools.

I was tasked by the Department of Health to independently and individually change the culture of 9000 staff - it was important that it was only the staff I worked with - to prove my campaign worked. I was there for 3 months and at the end of the campaign the number of reported incidents of MRSA were reduced to zero.

This is where I learnt to embrace, communicate and empower NHS staff to want to wash their hands more.