Many hospital departments have very high public usage of dispensers. For example, in a major London hospital, the cooler located in A&E was in use 24hrs and, on average, 1000 cups were consumed over a time period when the average for other coolers in the hospital was 300 cups over the same time period. The bacterial contamination at the tap outlets increased proportionally as the usage increased (survey previously commissioned by British Water Cooler Association).
Tap sprays containing disinfectants provide a simple way of reducing contamination and these are available from several suppliers. Certain types of disinfectant spray produce a long-lasting effect, up to 30 days. However, their use requires close cooperation between Facility Managers and the cooler providers to ensure that the coolers with the highest usage are treated more frequently. Simple swab testing of the taps will enable the effectiveness of this intervention to be monitored.