ALCOHOL-based hand gel is being banned from entrances at Dorset County Hospital... because tramps are drinking it.

Homeless alcoholics have been spotted drinking the solution from the dispensers at entrances to the Dorchester hospital.

Two homeless people have died in London from drinking the gel – used to combat MRSA and other germs – and it will now be removed from all entrances at the hospital.

The dispensers will be axed in favour of those already in place at ward entrances that can be supervised by hospital staff.

The hospital’s Infection Prevention and Control Committee wants to do away with the gel – which contains up to 70 per cent alcohol – for health and safety reasons.

A source at the hospital confirmed that the dispensers had been used by vagrants and that bosses had ordered their removal.

He said: “There have been a couple of occasions when homeless people have been using the gel to try and get a high from the alcohol content.

“However, it is dangerous if ingested in large quantities and the bosses at the hospital want them removed. They will still be at the wards where staff can keep an eye on them.”

A hospital spokeswoman said that the main reason this time around for the removal of the gel dispensers is clinical and that alcohol ingestion was only a factor.

She added: “What we are trying to do is focus people on hand hygiene at the point of care so that they wash or gel their hands on entering wards or at the patient’s bedside.

“On the advice of the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA), other hospitals have already removed gel from main entrances and are concentrating on ward entrances and bed spaces.

“It’s about protecting our patients, who are vulnerable to infection because their natural defences are lowered through their illness, surgery or medical treatment. We already have hand gel dispensers and wash basins at the entrances to our wards as well as on the wards themselves.”

She added that there is no set date for removing the hand gel from entrances.

Graham Tanner, chairman of National Concern for Healthcare Infections, blasted hospital chiefs for causing potential hygiene problems by removing the gel from main entrances.

“What you have to weigh up is the risk to one person and the risk to the entire hospital population.

“It’s sad that the adult population would have to resort to drinking the gels.

“That risk has to be what’s best for the hospital population rather than the minute risk of someone who would steal the gel and drink it – it’s going to be fairly low,” he said.

Mr Tanner added that soap and hot water ‘is just as good’ at killing germs that lead to hospital infections such as MRSA, C difficile and norovirus.

Norovirus has recently been found at Dorset County Hospital three times in three months.