SEE VIDEO: Robots join the fight against bugs at King’s Lynn hospital

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They may look like something from the sets of Doctor Who or Star Wars, but these are the latest anti-infection devices hitting the wards of Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

The Gayton Road site is one of only two hospitals in Britain that have been chosen to trial the machines, developed by the American firm Xenex.

They work by emitting pulses of high-intensity ultra-violet light, which are designed to kill harmful bacteria and viruses.

And Dr Ian Hosein, the hospital’s interim associate medical director for infection prevention and control, said they can help to protect patients not just from current bugs but future ones too.

He said: “It’s being brought in to help us. If we were to use this device, it gives us the chance to prepare for new threats.

“Ebola is now being brought under control in Sierra Leone, but there will be new infectious diseases.”

The current trial is focusing on isolation rooms which have to be deep cleaned when one patient leaves before a new one takes their place.

Cleaning staff will still clean the room before the machine is brought in to eradicate any remaining germs.

And Dr Hosein stressed that the technology would not be replacing human cleaners, as the devices are not as effective in areas which have not already been cleaned first.

However, the trial could be extended to vacant bays on wards if appropriate safety measures can be put in place.

Two of the machines, which cost around £65,000 each, are currently being tested at the hospital, which has been given them free of charge.

The company says the technology is already being used at more than 250 hospitals in the United States and has reduced infection rates there by more than 50 per cent.

So far this year, the QEH has only recorded one case of the C difficile bug, compared with 13 over the same period last year.

And Dr Hosein said: “We pride ourselves in continuously looking for ways to improve and provide the best care for patients.

“These robots demonstrate to both staff and patients that we are continually looking at new ways of killing harmful germs.”