Update
Hospital visitors urged to stay away as norovirus crisis deepens

By Tim Clarke 16/02 Updated: 17/02 16:51

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Buy photos » Worcestershire Royal Hospital is facing a Norovirus crisis. Picture by Nick Hands 0712032NHR

NO MORE ward closures have had to be issued at Worcestershire Royal Hospital overnight as measures to contain the spread of the winter vomiting and diarrhoea bug take hold.

But 12 wards still remain full or partially closed - affecting about 600 beds - and a visiting ban remains in force at the Worcester based hospital.

All non-urgent elective operations are postponed and ambulances are being diverted to other hospitals, with GPs being asked to manage people outside of hospital wherever possible. Outpatient appointments are continuing as normal. Hospital bosses are considering exceptional requests from relatives with a particular need to visit a patient, but anyone wishing to do so needs to contact the matron or ward manager.

One ward is still affected at the Alexandra Hospital although and residents are being asked to voluntarily stay away unless necessary and not to visit if they have experienced symptoms of the bug within 48 hours

A spokeswoman for Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the two hospitals, said the Alex was under 'significant pressure' due to the knock-on effects of the situation at the Worcestershire Royal. People are being urged not to visit A&E at the Woodrow Drive hospital unless absolutely unnecessary and to use other NHS services such as the GP out of hours service and minor injuries unit.

Dr Claire Constantine, Infection Control doctor at WAHT, said strict measures had been put in place to control the spread of the bug.

"The cleaning solutions that are used across the hospitals on a day to day basis already contain active ingredients which kill norovirus," she said.

"When a patient displays symptoms of norovirus the frequency of cleaning is immediately stepped up and steps are taken to isolate the patient - in a side room for instance - and ensure that they are nursed away from other patients.

"As soon as the patient is recovered and moved out of the bed, the whole area – including the medical equipment – is deep cleaned using bleach cleaning.

"Where patients are displaying symptoms of norovirus the aim is to ensure that, where possible, the nursing staff looking after them do not nurse other patients. Stringent infection control measures are in place for all staff to ensure we have scrupulous hand hygiene. Movement of staff between wards is also kept to an absolute minimum."

Anyone whose condition continues to worsen should call their GP or NHS Direct on 0845 46 47. Visit www.worcsacute.nhs.uk for the latest norovirus updates.

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