BUG-BUSTING health workers are in the running for a national accolade.

Critical care staff at York Hospital are among the finalists in the Patient Safety Awards 2010, which honour initiatives leading to safer treatment in the health service.

They were short-listed after devising a project which focused on reducing “central-line” infections.

This refers to the ways intravenous fluids and medicines are given to critically ill patients, which can also be a gateway for illnesses to enter the bloodstream.

The group, which includes nursing and consultant staff, looked at improving the way these lines are managed on York Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s critical care unit, and put their working practices under the microscope.

It is now more than 200 days since the last infection of this kind was identified at the hospital, compared to an average of two cases per month before the project was launched.

The team’s nomination is in the “patient safety in critical care/ intensive care” category at the awards, to be hosted by influential medical publications the Health Service Journal and Nursing Times.

The nomination was based on judges assessing the innovative qualities of the scheme, how it was put in place, the outcome of the work and how it can be moved forward.

Libby McManus, the trust’s chief nurse, said: “I am very proud of how the staff have worked together and examined and changed their own practices to ensure patients get the best possible care.

“They’re already a great team, and let’s hope the awards recognise that, too. It is a great achievement to be short-listed from more than 400 entries, and the team should be justly proud.

“Patient safety is a matter of pride for staff at York Hospital, and avoidable central-line infections are no longer acceptable.

“The impact of delivering and sustaining such an important intervention has empowered the whole team within critical care, and we now plan to spread this practice throughout the hospital for the benefit of all our patients.”

The winners of the awards will be announced next month.