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Measures introduced to stop problem patients drinking alcoholic hand gels at Queen’s Hospital

13:06 25 February 2014

Queen's Hospital, Romford

Queen's Hospital, Romford

Archant

Hand gel drunks attempting to get inebriated on sanitizing solution have become “more of an issue” in recent years, the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Trust has said.

One unnamed patient, described by the BHRUT as a “frequent attendee in A&E” at Queen’s Hospital, Rom Valley Way, Romford, always attempts to “consume” the gel, which contains 70 per cent ethanol.

The BHRUT insists it now has the measures in place to stop alcoholics drinking the hand gel from its premises, including removing any free-standing containers.

The trust added it has not experienced any significant losses of gels and it insists – despite the one repeated case – it is not a huge problem.

Sacha Coodye, matron infection prevention and control at BHRUT, said: “Alcohol based hand wash is a vital tool in combating the spread of bugs and we actively encourage everybody to use it, because the cleanliness and safety of patients is a priority.”

“Issues regarding the theft of hand alcohol sanitizers from hospitals can be costly for the trust and the NHS; it can also be potentially very dangerous for patients.

“If hand alcohol sanitizers are not available to use it could pose a threat for risk of MRSA bacteraemia.”

The BHRUT introduced lockable hand alcohol gel dispensers back in September and recently introduced locked units to house hand alcohol gel pouches, so that patients cannot drink the sanitizer.

According to a BHRUT spokesman, long-term hand gel manufacturer Spirigel has been approached to change the name from “alcohol” to “sanitizer”.

The spokesman added: “Nothing has happened to date.”

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