Some of you will know about the use of alcohol hand rub in prison to make “hooch”, but we have recently been advising NHS clients in connection with people coming onto hospital premises and stealing and drinking hand gels and sanitizers. We understand these gels can contain an ethyl alcohol content of 70 per cent. We are told it can taste almost acceptable when mixed with Coke! (Please do not try it at home or work!).

It may be worth thinking about this and considering steps to prevent people removing them for inappropriate use. Some homeless charities say that stocks have been stolen from hospitals despite tighter security being imposed.

There is also news that coroners appear to be dealing with a number of inquests into deaths involving hand gel. We hear that there could have been around ten such inquests in the London area (particularly Tower Hamlets).

Risk alerts have been issued about drinking alcohol rub although there is no guidance to the NHS as a whole. Trusts might want to make sure a full risk assessment is done into the use of hand gels across premises and particularly when it is used close to vulnerable groups.