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Wash away bug menace'

PUBLISHED: 14:52 04 March 2009 | UPDATED: 10:30 23 August 2010

CONCERN: Isobel Small says people are ignoring the signs.

CONCERN: Isobel Small says people are ignoring the signs.

AN ELDERLY woman was shocked to see scores of hospital visitors ignoring hand-wash facilities used to prevent the spread of superbugs. Isobel Small, 69, told the Gravesend Reporter of her horror at seeing people enter Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford w

AN ELDERLY woman was shocked to see scores of hospital visitors ignoring hand-wash facilities used to prevent the spread of superbugs.

Isobel Small, 69, told the Gravesend Reporter of her horror at seeing people enter Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford without using the gel hand-wash provided.

Mrs Small, of The Thrift, Bean, who has a weak immune system, is terrified that visitors are putting patients at risk.

She wrote to our news team to raise her concerns after visiting the hospital last month.

She said: "My husband dropped me off at the entrance while he parked the car, so I was standing there for a good 15 minutes and it was quite busy.

"I was watching people coming in and out and not one person bothered using the sterile hand-wash that's provided.

"I think it's shocking. What annoys me is that you read so much about germs in hospitals, and everybody should be aware of the dangers, and they still do it!

"It only takes a couple of seconds. There's just no excuse."

A Healthcare Commission report published in September last year found that the Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust hospital was in breach of the hygiene code.

This related to keeping hospital facilities clean, particularly dusting and cleaning equipment, but did not state patient hand-washing was a problem.

Mrs Small said: "I'm very worried. I can pick up illnesses very easily. If I get the common cold, it stays for a month.

"People are just ignoring the signs. It's not like they don't advertise the dispensers - there are signs everywhere.

"It would be an idea to have someone on the door. They could get one of their volunteers to do it.

"In the individual wards, like the Day Care Centre, where I was, they made sure everybody used the gel. They need to do that on the front door too."

A spokesperson for Darent Valley Hospital said: "Each clinical area has its own gel dispenser. If people don't use it at the front entrance, they use it elsewhere.

"All we can do is educate people and tell them the importance of having clean hands.

"It's not compulsory, so even if we had someone at the door, we wouldn't be able to enforce it.

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