Hospital visitors steal hand sanitiser from wards in coronavirus panic
Hospital visitors steal hand sanitising gel from wards by ripping dispensers off walls and grabbing bottles from ends of beds in coronavirus panic
- Northampton General Hospital is facing a shortage of hand sanitiser
- Relatives of patients are stealing the 400ml bottles from the ends of beds
- Wards are being instructed to half the supply of sanitiser to curtail thefts
- The demand for hand sanitiser has spiked as fears of coronavirus intensify
- In the UK there are 163 confirmed cases of contraction, while one has died
Northampton General Hospital is facing a shortage of hand sanitiser as the relatives of patients continue to steal them from wards, emails allege.
Bottles of the invaluable 400ml foaming hand sanitiser, kept at the ends of beds, are ‘disappearing every day’, a hospital spokesperson told the BBC.
The incident comes as fears over the spread of the deadly coronavirus have sparked a huge demand in the supply of hand sanitiser.
As the number of confirmed UK cases has reached 163, a 75-year-old woman has been confirmed as the first native death from suffering of the bug.
Bottles of the invaluable 400ml foaming hand sanitiser, kept at the ends of beds, are ‘disappearing every day’, a hospital spokesperson told the BBC
In the face of a national shortage of sanitiser caused by panic buying, members of the public are believed to be stealing from the Northampton hospital.
Emails sent to ward managers seen by the Chronicle and Echo allege that relatives are taking the invaluable 400ml pumps of foaming hand sanitiser kept at the ends of hospital beds so nurses and staff can prevent the spread of illnesses.
Sent from the hospital’s infection prevent team yesterday, the email said crisis talks had been held about the ‘potential future shortage’ of the sanitiser.
It said: ‘Unfortunately, relatives seem to be taking them from the ends of beds.
‘Whilst we acknowledge that there is potential for a national shortage of foam due to the coronavirus, we do not want our patients to be put at risk of other infections whilst they are in hospital,’ the email continued.
In the face of a national shortage of sanitiser caused by panic buying, members of the public are believed to be stealing from the Northampton hospital (pictured)
The email then suggests that wards had been ordered to half the number of hand sanitisers available to curtail the thefts.
Sally-Anne Watts, associate communications director, told the BBC: ‘Over the past week we’ve seen stocks on wards disappear from the end of beds every single day.
‘Nothing like this has ever happened in all the years we’ve had the gel.’
Health chiefs have declared the epidemic a ‘level four incident’, arrogating to themselves emergency powers to take control of local hospitals.
The Government is reportedly planning to build an army of NHS volunteers, and bring retired GPs back into the fold, to tackle the spread of the bug.
And the UK’s Chief Medical Officer Prof Chris Whitty warned a Health Select Committee that the number of coronavirus cases was set to rise.
MailOnline has approached Northampton General Hospital for comment.
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