Thieves swap out hospital hand sanitiser for water

Thieves swap out hospital hand sanitiser for water

Health expert and television personality Dr Andrew Rochford has urged the public to stop stealing protective supplies from hospitals as doctors across Australia continue to report shortages of masks and other equipment.

Speaking in a clip shared on Twitter, Dr Rochford said a hospital reported that 190 full hand sanitiser bottles were stolen in a single shift.

“We actually found that somebody had emptied one of these bottles and filled it with water,” he said.

“So for an entire shift, there were medical workers sanitising their hands between patients using water.”

He warned that the act was “dangerous” and put the lives of both the patients and the medical staff at risk.

“Everyone’s scared, everyone’s stressed, but … just please leave the protective equipment in the hospitals. We need it.”

The plea came as NSW Health reported thefts of masks, hand sanitiser and gloves from hospitals.

A medical supplies company director said hospitals were forced to introduce more measures to deter theft. “[People are] stealing things from hospitals,” the director said.

“Hospitals have had to put their masks under lock and key, pallets of hand sanitiser are going missing from hospitals.”

Some doctors also claimed they were told to reuse disposable face masks at a Sydney hospital.

Two anaesthetists told the ABC they were asked to name and date their N95 or P2 masks and put them in a communal bin for future use.

“We’re asked to reuse them so that in a few weeks’ time if all of a sudden there are no masks then at least we can go back to that – because the other option is [we’ll have] nothing,” one anaesthetist said.

“We’re terrified to be honest. It’s as if we are being sent to war with no gun.”