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GPs to remove toys from waiting rooms to stop swine flu

26 October 2009

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Doctors in Wales will remove toys and books from waiting rooms in an attempt to contain the spread of swine flu.

The move comes amid latest figures showing the number of swine flu-related deaths in Wales rose to seven last week.

Dr Charlotte Jones, GP in Swansea, said: “I’ve had all books and most toys removed from our surgery to reduce the chance of transmission of infections, such as swine flu and measles, after studies have shown they can be passed on through touching toys.”

She added that while toys can be cleaned down and sterilised, “germs can stay on hard surfaces of toys too”.

A spokesman for the Welsh Assembly Government urged parents who have a GP appointment not to take their children if possible.

“Where possible, where a parent has to attend a GP appointment, they should avoid taking children who are well. The Assembly Government has previously issued guidance on toys and play equipment to schools, nurseries and childminders.”

The spokesman added: “GPs would need to consider what measures they need to implement locally to reduce the risk of spreading infections on their premises.”

Across the UK, almost 130 people have died since the outbreak in April. Health experts have urged those at risk to get the swine flu vaccination at their GP surgery.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

NHS Wales

Have you removed toys/equipment from your surgery because of swine flu? Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

“Very good idea – toys are a source of transmitting infections and parents should be discouraged to rely on toys outside the home to stimulate their children. Greater emphasis should be made on prevention and health education. The health visitors’ and school nurses’ role among other professionals is essential to conveying the right message to parents who in turn provide a safe environment for their children” – V Henry, London

“Yes, but we have also installed Medixair air decontamination units as a further precaution, to create a ‘clean’ environment, to prevent risk to staff and high-risk patients from cross-contamination!” – Ian, Birmingham

“Yes, we have. We have removed all our magazines and  children’s books so that we can keep clear table surfaces cleaner and more free from germs” – Anne Phillips, Basingstoke

“Yes, but we did it back in July. I can’t believe that it has taken some practices this long to take such a basic infection control measure” – Mark Leonard, Northampton

“Yes; then we removed the magazines, then the chairs – quickly followed by all the door knobs … so now we have a ‘virtual’ surgery treating ‘virtual’ patients – problem solved” – Nick Bentley, Yorkshire