A NSW Government website


Gloves Off Campaign

Research Project

Focusing on waste avoidance and best patient care.

What is the gloves off project?

The ‘Gloves Off’ project is a research project taking place on two trial wards at John Hunter Hospital to improve hand hygiene and reduce unnecessary non-sterile glove use.

Why are we focusing on glove use?

Evidence in the literature suggests that non-sterile gloves are commonly misused in clinical work, and that healthcare workers are less likely to adhere to hand hygiene practices when wearing non-sterile gloves. Glove overuse then results in increased volumes of avoidable waste being sent to landfill.

What is the scale of non-sterile glove use across Hunter New England Local Health District (HNELHD)?

Non-sterile gloves used annually = ~28.3 million

Gloves sent to landfill = 75 tonnes plus disposal costs

Carbon footprint = equivalent to driving an average petrol car around Australia 438 times

What are our project aims?

  • Improve hand hygiene compliance
  • Improve the confidence and understanding of healthcare staff in performing risk assessments as a component of standard precautions
  • Reduce unnecessary use of non-sterile gloves
  • Design and deliver a quality improvement package which can be rolled out more widely across our LHD

Has this been done in any other healthcare service?

The gloves off campaign was established in 2018 in England at Great Ormond Street Hospital London (GOSH). GOSH project reduced glove use by 30%, with associated cost and environmental savings. Closer to home the Mater Health QLD have successfully implemented projects focusing on improving hand hygiene and reducing unnecessary use of non-sterile gloves.


  1. Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in HealthcareGuidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare (nhmrc.gov.au)
  1. Jamal, H., Lyne, A., Ashley, P., & Duane, B. (2021). Non-sterile examination gloves and sterile surgical gloves: Which are more sustainable? Journal of Hospital Infection, 118, 87–95. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhin.2021.10.001
  1. Jeffries, S. D., Tu, Z., Xu, H., Harutyunyan, R., & Hemmerling, T. M. (2023). Use of hand sanitiser as a potential substitution for nonsterile gloves in reducing carbon emissions. British Journal of Anaesthesia, 131(1). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bja.2023.03.029

If you're seeking further information and work on H3 or J3 please contact your NUM

All other communication can be directed to the team.

Project officer: Tina Wilkie - Speech Pathologist & Ministry of Health Allied Health Net Zero Lead Tina.Wilkie@health.nsw.gov.au

Infection Prevention Service: Patricia Knight - Clinical Nurse Consultant patricia.knight@health.nsw.gov.au

Sustainability Project Officer: Amy Bernotas - HNELHD Sustainability Project officer Amy.Bernotas@health.nsw.gov.au

If you have any questions relating to the expansion of this project across the district or other future projects please don’t hesitate to contact the HNELHD Sustainability Project Team at HNELHD-SustainableHealthcare2030@health.nsw.gov.au