SUPERMARKET chain Iceland has apologised after coming under online over a policy saying NHS workers must buy any products they touch in their stores and that “they can’t put them back.”
As reported by LBC (Leading Britain’s Conversation) and other outlets, The policy appeared on the supermarket’s website under a section which details special hours for NHS workers during the coronavirus outbreak.
There are Iceland stores located at 31 South Mall in Grays and also at the Thurrock shopping Park, Weston Ave in West Thurrock.
It was spotted by a number of social media users who voiced their complaints.
One NHS worker who spotted it said she felt like the chain was treating her like a “leper.”
She posted online: “This is on the Iceland website it make us feel so disrespected that we would ever put anyone at risk it is so upsetting to think they are treating as lepers.”
The supermarket said they have “strong measures in place to protect our staff during the Covid-19 outbreak,” and during NHS shopping hours they limit payments to cards only.
But, listed under a subheading about how the company will “protect” their staff, the website said, “if NHS workers touch products they have to buy them, they can’t put them back.”
The frozen food chain claim this is to “reduce the risk of contamination.”
A spokesperson for NHS England confirmed this was not NHS policy or advice.
But NHS workers were not happy with this policy and some said they would no longer use the store.
A spokesperson told LBC News: “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“We sincerely apologise for the offence this has clearly caused, and have immediately withdrawn this guidance.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.”
Sarah Parker, an Infection Prevention and Control Specialist Nurse said Iceland’s comments were unfounded. She said; “If anything, NHS workers would be less of a risk than the general public.”
Adding that NHS staff “are usually more conscious of correct hand hygiene practices” and are often more compliant with the current social distancing advice.