Lesley Cook, a lead nurse clinical procurement at NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership and a member of the frontline procurement team at Swansea Bay University Health Board, discusses how she became involved in trying to source a pillow that was more suitable for our patients, in as much as it did not expose them to potential healthcare-associated infection.

We were aware that pillows could carry all sorts of bacteria from upper respiratory tract infections to E coli. We sourced a pillow that appeared to meet our needs and asked for a couple of samples.

When these appeared to be as good as we were led to believe, I met with the managing director along with the infection prevention and control matron and a medical matron. With end of year monies we were able to order 3,333, totalling a £50,000 spend pillows for the health board.

The decision was made to supply the four main hospitals with pillows for inpatient areas only, as well as one of the mental health hospitals as they had experienced significant infection issues.

The pillows were labelled with the name of the health board and hospital site on arrival. Ward staff were encouraged to use a marker pen and write the name of the ward on the pillow too. This was to try and manage the pillows and keep them on the wards they were allocated to.