Gloves Off

A campaign to reduce the number of plastic gloves used across health and social care in Somerset.


Somerset ICB is encouraging staff across the county to ‘take their gloves off’ when undertaking physical (or non-physical) observations on patients, such as blood pressure, oxygen saturations, and taking temperatures.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a change in the use of gloves when undertaking routine activities. The ‘Take Your Gloves Off’ campaign aims to improve awareness of when it is appropriate to wear gloves.

For most physical observations gloves are not required and hand hygiene with alcohol-based hand rub or hand washing with soap and water is the most effective means of preventing the spread of infection and keeping patients and staff safe.

The overuse of gloves:

  • Reduces the opportunity to clean your hands
  • Increases environmental contamination
  • Increases your environmental impact through the production and the disposal of gloves
  • Increases the risk of skin conditions, such as dermatitis

Frequently asked questions

How do you know when gloves should be off?

Here’s how our clinical staff will use disposable gloves when interacting with patients:

Gloves on:

  • When in contact (or risk of contact) with blood, body fluid or broken skin
  • When in contact with chemical hazards such as disinfectant
  • Where a patient is infectious or showing signs of infection

Clean, bare hands that are washed regularly with soap and water or using alcohol hand rub are just as effective as gloves in these scenarios: 

Gloves off:

  • Taking patients’ blood pressure, temperature etc.
  • Examining or touching a patient
  • Assisting a patient with food and drink
  • Giving vaccinations
  • Administration tasks near a patient (e.g. answering the phone, using the computer)
  • Moving a patient’s belongings
  • Tidying the bedspace


What does this mean for me?

As a patient or relative don’t need to do anything differently. You might just notice some differences if you have been seen in our hospitals or GP practices before.

You might see different types of gloves being used, or no gloves at all.

The staff looking after you will have had training about using gloves. They will assess each task to decide what action to take. This depends on the task and what is safest for you.

They will know when we should use gloves and what sort of gloves we should use.


Will people have clean hands if they are not using gloves?

Yes: staff are trained in how to wash hands. They will know when to wash with soap and water, or alcohol gel.


Where can I find out more information about this?

If you have any questions or need more information, just speak to the staff looking after you.

Further information can also be found on the Royal College of Nursing website:

British Medical Association


How should I wash my hands?

Play Video