Sanitas Healthcare plc (formerly PatientPak Holdings Ltd) is a consumer hygiene
Hygiene refers to the set of practices perceived by a community to be associated with the preservation of health and healthy living. While in modern medical sciences there is a set of standards of hygiene recommended for different situations, what is considered hygienic or not can vary between...

 pack manufacturer and retailer. The original product, PatientPak, was designed for use by patients to protect themselves from healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs), and especially from antibiotic
An antibacterial is a compound or substance that kills or slows down the growth of bacteria.The term is often used synonymously with the term antibiotic; today, however, with increased knowledge of the causative agents of various infectious diseases, antibiotic has come to denote a broader range of...

 resistant pathogen
A pathogen gignomai "I give birth to") or infectious agent — colloquially, a germ — is a microbe or microorganism such as a virus, bacterium, prion, or fungus that causes disease in its animal or plant host...

s known as ‘superbugs’, when they go into hospital. The ‘Pak’ contains a range of antimicrobial products in the form of wipes and sprays as well as various hygiene and convenience items, such as soap and nailbrush. According to test data, the patented formula is proven to kill 99.99% of germs such as MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is a bacterium responsible for several difficult-to-treat infections in humans. It is also called multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and oxacillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus...

), Norovirus, Avian Flu
Avian flu
Avian influenza, sometimes avian flu, and commonly bird flu, refers to "influenza caused by viruses adapted to birds." Of the greatest concern is highly pathogenic avian influenza ....

 (H5N1), Salmonella
Salmonella is a genus of rod-shaped, Gram-negative, non-spore-forming, predominantly motile enterobacteria with diameters around 0.7 to 1.5 µm, lengths from 2 to 5 µm, and flagella which grade in all directions . They are chemoorganotrophs, obtaining their energy from oxidation and reduction...

 and E. coli. It is tested and successfully meets the requirements of the EN1276, prEN12054, EN1500 and EN1275 European antimicrobial standards. PatientPak was introduced to the UK market in October 2008.

Sanitas Healthcare plc introduced in October 2009 four new products proven to kill the latest strain of swine flu. They are:

• FluPak

• ProtectGel

• ProtectSpray

• ProtectWipes

These are initially available throughout the Lloyds Pharmacy chain.


The idea behind PatientPak emerged in 2006, when an elderly lady preparing for a stay in hospital asked a friend how she could best protect herself from infection while admitted. They were dismayed to find that there were no commercially available products which would be effective against superbugs such as MRSA. After carrying out considerable research, they selected the most efficacious clinical product available, and repackaged it as a consumer hygiene pack. Over more than two years since then, an extensive research, development and testing programme led by the company’s Founder and CEO, Rob Gros, has produced a variety of antimicrobial products including PatientPak launched in September 2008 and FluPak launched in September 2009.

PatientPak product contents

• Antimicrobial Sanitising Wipes

• Antimicrobial Hand Sanitising Spray

• Antimicrobial Fabric Spray

• Antimicrobial Hair and Body Wash

• Soap

• Nail-Brush

• Face and Body Wipes

• Toothbrush

• Toothpaste

• Lip Balm

• Pen

• Infection-Control Guide

• ‘Polite notice’ from MRSA Action UK

Other Sanitas Healthcare products

FluPak, containing:

• Sanitising Wipes x15

• Sanitising Spray 60ml

• Tissues

• Disposable Bag

• Good Hygiene Guide

ProtectGel – a sanitising hand gel

Lloyds Pharmacy stocks FluPak and ProtectGel exclusively.

Other products from Sanitas Healthcare include:

ProtectPak, containing:

• Antimicrobial Sanitising Gel

• Antimicrobial Hair and Body Wash

• Antimicrobial Sanitising Wipes

• Antimicrobial Body and Face Wipes

• Antimicrobial Soap and Dish

• Pen

• Bag

• Guide to Good Hygiene

• Polite Notice

ProtectSpray – to sanitise fabrics and furnishings

ProtectWipes – for sanitising hard surfaces such as handles, tabletops and telephones

Healthcare Associated Infections (HCAIs)

Healthcare Associated Infections (HCAIs), in particular ‘superbugs’ like MRSA, have become a growing problem for health authorities in the UK over the last few years. MRSA was relatively uncommon through the 1960s and 1970s. The infection rate rose dramatically in the mid-1990s when particular 'epidemic' strains of MRSA became established in hospitals throughout the UK. These strains are easily transmissible (passing between and colonising both patients and hospital staff) and can cause serious disease. 6,381 cases of MRSA were reported in England between April 2006 and March 2007. According to The European Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance System (EARSS), which collates HCAI infection data from across Europe, the UK has the 4th highest rate of MRSA in Europe after Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

, Malta
Malta , officially known as the Republic of Malta , is a Southern European country consisting of an archipelago situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, south of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya, with Gibraltar to the west and Alexandria to the east.Malta covers just over in...

 and Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....


Current estimates of the rate of healthcare associated infections among hospital in-patients in England range from 8.2% to around 10%. It costs the NHS between £4,000 and £10,000 more to treat a patient with an infection, and about £9,000 more to treat a single patient with a superbug infection.

Aims of the product

PatientPak is advertised as having several aims. Chief among these is the idea that the product allows hospital in-patients, who often feel powerless over what happens to them in hospital, to protect themselves. PatientPak are at pains to make clear that while they realise the health services are working hard to cut infection rates, patients can nevertheless contribute to the solution.

Another of PatientPak’s aims is to raise awareness of the problem of healthcare associated infections and how patients and visitors can contribute to the solution by providing infection-control and hygiene advice. Each PatientPak includes a guide to good hygiene, in the form of an advice leaflet explaining how best to combat superbugs, viruses and bacteria. There is also a bedside notice, which politely requests NHS staff to wash their hands before treating the patient.

Testing and development

The antimicrobial formula contained in PatientPak mediates against resistance by ensuring the widest spectrum of activity; the synergistic mix of quaternary ammonium compounds and the polymeric biguanide each have a completely different mechanism of action. According to the clinical test data, it is proven to kill 99.999% of germs such as MRSA, Norovirus, Avian Influenza (H5N1), E. coli
Escherichia coli
Escherichia coli is a Gram-negative, rod-shaped bacterium that is commonly found in the lower intestine of warm-blooded organisms . Most E. coli strains are harmless, but some serotypes can cause serious food poisoning in humans, and are occasionally responsible for product recalls...

, Salmonella
Salmonella is a genus of rod-shaped, Gram-negative, non-spore-forming, predominantly motile enterobacteria with diameters around 0.7 to 1.5 µm, lengths from 2 to 5 µm, and flagella which grade in all directions . They are chemoorganotrophs, obtaining their energy from oxidation and reduction...

, Hepatitis
Hepatitis is a medical condition defined by the inflammation of the liver and characterized by the presence of inflammatory cells in the tissue of the organ. The name is from the Greek hepar , the root being hepat- , meaning liver, and suffix -itis, meaning "inflammation"...

 B and C and Campylobacter
Campylobacter is a genus of bacteria that are Gram-negative, spiral, and microaerophilic. Motile, with either unipolar or bipolar flagella, the organisms have a characteristic spiral/corkscrew appearance and are oxidase-positive. Campylobacter jejuni is now recognized as one of the main causes...

 and is tested in accordance with EN1276, prEN12054, EN1500 and EN1275 European antimicrobial standards.

Use in the NHS
National Health Service
The National Health Service is the shared name of three of the four publicly funded healthcare systems in the United Kingdom. They provide a comprehensive range of health services, the vast majority of which are free at the point of use to residents of the United Kingdom...


Clinell, the name of the antimicrobial formulation contained in the sanitising wipes, hand sanitising spray, fabric spray and hair and body wash, is extensively used throughout the NHS. Clinell products were submitted to the Health Protection Agency’s Rapid Review Panel in December 2007 and achieved a recommendation 2. The RRP stated that ‘in use evaluations/trials are now needed in an healthcare setting’.

Attention in the UK Parliament

While Sanitas Healthcare’s PatientPaks are the only known ‘anti-superbug’ kits on the UK market, they fall within the more general category of ‘personal antimicrobial products’. During the current 2008-9 session of the UK Parliament, two Early Day Motion
Early day motion
An Early Day Motion , in the Westminster system, is a motion, expressed as a single sentence, tabled by Members of Parliament for debate "on an early day" . Controversial EDMs are not signed by Government Ministers, PPS or the Speaker of the House of Commons and very few are debated on the floor...

s (EDMs) were tabled by MPs calling on the NHS to supply a comprehensive range of personal antimicrobial products to every hospital in-patient as a cost-effective means of reducing healthcare-associated infections.

EDM 348, tabled by Mike Hancock MP and signed by 22 other MPs, states:

That this House regrets that the best estimate the Government has provided for the cost to the NHS of treating and preventing healthcare associated infections (HCAIs) is based on data that is 14 years old; notes that recent reductions in superbug infection rates are modest drops from record high levels; understands that the NHS is considering providing infection-control packs to only those patients who already have MRSA; regrets that such measures are designed to deal with infection rather than prevent it; further notes that it costs up to £10,000 more to treat each patient that contracts an HCAI, which affect an estimated one in 10 patients, and that in consequence the NHS spends up to £1,000 per in-patient on treating HCAIs irrespective of whether the in-patient contracts an infection; believes that, in order to prevent HCAIs, it is essential that the NHS provides a comprehensive range of proven personal antimicrobial products and a guide to infection control to every NHS in-patient; calls upon the Government to, at the very least, undertake widespread trials of such an initiative, report the findings to the House and extend the initiative throughout the NHS if the trial is successful; and recognises that this preventative scheme, if implemented, would cost a small fraction of the amount spent on HCAI treatment.

EDM 356, tabled by Bob Spink
Bob Spink
Robert Michael Spink is a politician in the United Kingdom. He was elected as the Conservative Party Member of Parliament for Castle Point in Essex in 1992, lost his seat in 1997, but regained it in 2001...

 MP and signed by 24 other MPs, states:

That this House is concerned that, despite recent falls, infection rates of MRSA, C. difficile, Norovirus and other superbugs remain high, and there is considerable public anxiety about this issue; notes that as everyone can carry and spread superbugs, patients and visitors as well as hospital staff have a part to play in helping to tackle infection; believes that patients should individually be provided with the means and information to protect themselves and others when they go into hospital; and calls upon the Government to provide a comprehensive range of personal antimicrobial products that are proven to kill superbugs and a hygiene guide to every NHS in-patient prior to admission, or as soon after admission as possible as this will help reduce infection rates, empower patients and instill good hygiene practices at a fraction of the financial cost of treating those who contract superbugs.

In addition to the Early Day Motion
Early day motion
An Early Day Motion , in the Westminster system, is a motion, expressed as a single sentence, tabled by Members of Parliament for debate "on an early day" . Controversial EDMs are not signed by Government Ministers, PPS or the Speaker of the House of Commons and very few are debated on the floor...

s, several Parliamentary Questions (PQs) have been tabled in the House of Commons asking about the possibility of the NHS providing personal antimicrobial products to be supplied to hospital in-patients.

Advertising and marketing

PatientPak is aimed at hospital in-patients, hospital visitors, and other groups vulnerable to infection such as pregnant women and new mothers, those recovering from injury or surgical procedures, and the elderly. PatientPak was advertised between December 2008 and February 2009 on the London Underground
London Underground
The London Underground is a rapid transit system serving a large part of Greater London and some parts of Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Essex in England...

 network, with the strapline “The battle against superbugs just got personal.” Four different adverts were used, featuring variously photographs of a pregnant woman and her daughter, a young child, an old man and a younger, sporty man. Slogans included “Just bug off”, “I’m going to wipe you off the face of my earth”, “Talk to the hand”, and “I’m going to wipe the floor with you.”

Media coverage

PatientPak received a great deal of critical media attention on its launch in October 2008, with articles and pictures in several major UK newspapers, including The Sun
The Sun (newspaper)
The Sun is a daily national tabloid newspaper published in the United Kingdom and owned by News Corporation. Sister editions are published in Glasgow and Dublin...

, The Daily Mail, The Times
The Times
The Times is a British daily national newspaper, first published in London in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register . The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers Limited, a subsidiary since 1981 of News International...

, The Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph is a daily morning broadsheet newspaper distributed throughout the United Kingdom and internationally. The newspaper was founded by Arthur B...

, The Independent
The Independent
The Independent is a British national morning newspaper published in London by Independent Print Limited, owned by Alexander Lebedev since 2010. It is nicknamed the Indy, while the Sunday edition, The Independent on Sunday, is the Sindy. Launched in 1986, it is one of the youngest UK national daily...

and the London Metro.

Involvement with MRSA Action UK

Sanitas Healthcare is working with MRSA Action UK, the UK’s foremost hospital standards pressure group. Derek Butler, the Chairman of MRSA Action UK has said:

While the NHS cannot guarantee to prevent patients contracting an avoidable healthcare infection, patients will look to prevent themselves from contracting healthcare infections by using items like PatientPak. MRSA Action UK believes that preventing patients contracting avoidable infections is always the best solution."

View from the scientific community

Professor Richard James, Professor of Microbiology at the University of Nottingham
University of Nottingham
The University of Nottingham is a public research university based in Nottingham, United Kingdom, with further campuses in Ningbo, China and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia...

and Director of the Centre for Healthcare Associated Infections, has voiced support for PatientPak and is quoted on the company’s website:

This convenient PatientPak kit is a good idea and offers excellent protection against hospital superbugs and viruses. I would give it to my own relatives who are going into hospital, as it’s far more valuable than a bunch of flowers.

Professor Steve Field, Chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners, said the kit, which includes hygiene sprays, wipes, soap, lip balm and a disposable toothbrush and pen, was
a complete waste of time for patients in the NHS It’s nonsense. It’s wrong to exploit the vulnerable, particularly when they are ill, frail and infirm. I would recommend that patients considering buying this go and buy some fruit instead.”

Dr Peter Carter, General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said:
It is irresponsible and potentially dangerous for PatientPak to even suggest that their product will do anything to tackle healthcare associated infections. The fact that this company openly targets two of the most vulnerable groups of NHS users – older people and pregnant women - is deeply worrying and entirely misleading.

External links

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