• Iceland has now changed guidance saying NHS staff had to buy items they touched
  • NHS staff furious over implication they are “unclean”

A leading retailer has come under fire after telling NHS staff taking advantage of a dedicated shopping hour they had to buy any items they touched because of infection concerns.

Iceland, whose stores have been operating NHS-only shopping hours for several weeks, posted on its website a series of questions and answers about the shopping hour, with one addressing how it would protect its staff. It said: “If NHS workers touch products they have to buy them, they can’t put them back. This is to reduce the risk of contamination.”

The website entry has now been changed to remove this. However, the website still says that the store needs to ask for photo ID for NHS staff and “we need to be much stricter for our NHS staff exclusive hour, for obvious health and safety reasons”.

Revelation of the original website entry caused many NHS workers to condemn the store on twitter. Royal College of Anaesthetists council member Helgi Johannsson asked “do we need to shout ‘unclean’ as we walk round?” and an emergency medicine doctor added: “NHS workers don’t have filthy hands. We wash our hands better than the vast majority.”

London nurse Danielle Tiplady started a twitter hashtag #NursesDontGoToIceland.

An Iceland spokesperson said: “This was an error and should not have been posted on our website. We sincerely apologise for the offence this has clearly caused, and have immediately withdrawn this guidance.

”We are deeply grateful to the NHS and all key workers for everything they are doing to keep the country running.”