Relatives are stealing hand sanitiser from Northampton General Hospital's wards amidst coronavirus scare

There is a national shortage of hand sanitiser in the face of the outbreak - so relatives are stealing it from the hospital...

Friday, 6th March 2020, 10:55 am
Updated Friday, 6th March 2020, 10:55 am

Northampton General Hospital is facing a shortage of hand sanitiser because relatives of patients keep stealing them from wards.

In the face of a national shortage of hand sanitiser because of the coronavirus outbreak, members of the public have apparently resorted to taking it for free from the hospital.

As standard practice, hospital wards keep 400ml pumps of foaming hand sanitiser at the ends of beds so nurses and staff can prevent the spread of infectious diseases and superbugs like MRSA.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Relatives have been stealing hand sanitiser pumps from NGH's wards in the face of the coronavirus outbreak.

But, in an email to all ward managers seen by the Chronicle & Echo, Northampton General is currently dealing with relatives taking these valuable bottles home with them after visits.

The email from the hospital's infection prevention team, which was sent at around 11pm last night (March 5), reads: "I have had discussions today with [the procurement team] about the potential future shortage of the 400ml foaming hand sanitiser pumps that go on the ends of beds and on trolleys.

"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."

A picture from March 3 showing a Boots pharmacy completely sold out of hand sanitiser. Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

As a result of the thefts, wards are being ordered to half the number of hand sanitisers available on wards in a bid to ration the bottles for the future.

The email ends with: "We ask that you monitor closely your stock of this product."

It comes after the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK yesterday reached 115, including two in Northamptonshire.