Medic Slams 'Dehumanising' Rules

Doctors, Friends And Family Told Not To Sit On Beds


Rules banning hospital doctors and visitors from sitting on patients' beds "diminish the joys of life" and are "dehumanising", a medic has said.

Dozens of hospitals have told doctors, friends and family not to sit on beds in a bid to stop the spread of infections like MRSA and Clostridium difficile (C diff).

Others have banned visitors from taking bouquets of flowers to their sick relatives for the same reason.

Yet such moves only make hospital more frightening places and stop patients enjoying any home comforts, a doctor said today.

Writing in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), Dr Iona Heath there was "no hard evidence" that banning either flowers or sitting on beds prevented the spread of infections.

It seemed to be more a case of hospitals being seen to be taking action.

She said: "Is it all in the interests of being seen to be doing something very noticeable about the worrying levels of hospital-based infections, however ineffective and otherwise disruptive?

Dozens of health trusts have told visitors not to sit on beds, including the Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Ashford and St Peter's Hospitals NHS Trust, University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust, West Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust, the Barlborough NHS Treatment Centre in Chesterfield and Kensington and Chelsea Primary Care Trust in London.

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Julie Lewis from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: “We feel it is positive that the Trust are taking action in relation to the control of hospital acquired infection but we share Dr Iona  Heath's concerns that this measure will actually have no impact on spread of infection.  Being in hospital is a difficult time for patients and there is a danger that this will only add to the stress involved.”