CALLS for family and friends of patients in Worcestershire hospitals to be allowed to brighten up their loved one’s stay with flowers have been rejected.

Although more than one in ten hospitals in the country, including the three run by Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust –Worcestershire Royal Hospital, Kidderminster Hospital and Redditch’s Alexandra Hospital – do not allow flowers on wards in a bid to curb the spread of infection, a report issued this week called for the ban to be lifted.

The study showed 37 per cent of people in the Midlands believed flowers could aid a patient’s recovery and many agreed that receiving floral gifts made them feel happy, special and loved.

But chief nursing officer of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust Lindsey Webb said the ban would remain in force.

“You might think a bouquet is a lovely gift to cheer someone up, but unfortunately the water in a vase of cut flowers can carry harmful bacteria,” she said.

“Vases positioned around a hospital bay can also make access for cleaning more difficult.

“We really appreciate the support of our patients and visitors on this – it’s a big help to our staff if they don’t have to tidy up dying flowers or clean and store vases.

“Added to the fact that there will always be one or two people in the hospital who are allergic to pollen, and we are confident that it makes sense not to allow flowers in our wards.

“To cheer up your loved one in hospital we’d recommend bringing in individually packages of snacks or drinks, magazines or potentially an iPad or other tablet if you’ve got one to keep them entertained.”

But patients in community hospitals in Malvern, Evesham, Pershore, Bromsgrove and Tenbury can enjoy a much more colourful, with a spokesman from Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, which runs the three hospitals, saying there was no blanket ban in force.

A report published by the British Medical Journal in 2009 found no evidence water in a vase had ever caused an infection in a hospital and that flowers could in fact help aid a patient’s recovery by reducing blood pressure, anxiety and pain while increasing positive feelings.

The study by florist suppliers Country Baskets is part of a campaign calling on hospitals across the UK to lift the ban on flowers on wards.