A hospital patient was caught on camera dragging her DRIP into a busy Lancashire supermarket.
A Lancashire Evening Post reader snapped the amazing photo as the patient made her way through Booths, opposite the Royal Preston Hospital (RPH), as he sat in the shop cafe.
It comes just weeks after the hospital declared war on hospital infections with a new staff dress code, and months after complaints about patients visiting the shop in pyjamas potentially spreading superbugs, including MRSA.
Paul Edmondson, of Fulwood, was enjoying a cup of tea with his wife Karen at the Sharoe Green Lane supermarket at 11.50am on Tuesday when he came across the worrying spectacle.
The young woman, a patient at RPH whom we have chosen not to identify, was walking through the chilled food and drink aisle pulling along a drip stand only yards away from customers eating food in the cafe.
Paul was so alarmed at the sight that he snapped the picture using his mobile phone camera.
Paul, 54, a father-of-two, said: "I couldn't believe my eyes. I saw a member of the public talking to her and expressing concern that she was in the supermarket in that condition.
"I have every sympathy with the patient for whatever treatment she was receiving, but surely in light of the many hospital infections that are rife at the moment, this can't be right."
Hospital bosses are so worried about infection they are considering banning nurses from wearing uniforms outside the hospital.
A spokesman for Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, who run the RPH, said: "We request patients to seek permission from a nurse in charge or notify staff of their whereabouts, such as if they want to leave the ward to buy a newspaper from the hospital shops.
"There would never be agreement for any inpatient to leave the hospital premises to visit nearby shops with a drip inserted.
"Her actions are irresponsible. There is no evidence that this contributes to the spread of infection. However, our staff are doing their best to prevent or minimise the risk of infection but we also need patients and the general public to play their part."
A spokeman for Booths said: "We make every effort to accommodate the diverse needs of our customers within our company procedures, which state that we will not serve customers who are under the influence of alcohol, under age or abusive to staff or shoppers."
>> Hospital pyjama patients spotted nipping to shops
>> Nurses face uniform ban outside hospitals
>> Shopping patients could spread infection
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