Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Royal Lancaster Infirmary closes to visitors during Noro outbreak

All visitors have been banned from the Royal Lancaster Infirmary because of an outbreak of the winter vomiting bug Norovirus.

At least 140 patients and 20 staff have caught the highly contagious norovirus, which causes nausea and diarrhoea.

Every ward will be shut for at least the next two days, but Emergency cases are still being taken in A&E.
Outpatients should still go to appointments - but if they're showing symptoms of the bug they should call ahead.

For maternity, neonatal and paediatric services, only the parents or one guardian of a sick child are asked to attend the wards or neonatal unit.

The Trust understands that there may be extenuating circumstances where members of the public need to visit loved ones, such as if they seriously ill. If this is the case, the public are asked to call ahead to the ward to arrange visiting.

Juliet Walters, Chief Operating Officer, said: “Whilst we understand that this may seem drastic to some people, our usual infection control methods need to be supplemented with the assistance of the public to help control and resolve the outbreak.

“It has been widely reported that the levels of this bug are 83 per cent higher nationally than last year. There is also a huge increase of the bug in the community and we believe that members of the public who are coming into the hospital, carrying the bug or similar bugs – sometimes without knowledge - may be contributing to the problem. By reducing the number of people coming into our hospital, we can reduce the risk of norovirus spreading to further wards. 

“This decision has not been taken lightly as we know it will be frustrating for people who have friends and family in hospital but we have a duty of care to protect the wellbeing and safety of our patients and staff, and this has to be our main priority. Our staff are working extremely hard to deal with this outbreak quickly and this decision will help us return services to normal as soon as possible. To help us achieve this, we would appreciate the co-operation of the public.”

The norovirus illness affects up to a million people in the UK each year and does not last long and people usually recover between 12 and 60 hours without treatment other than rest and lots of fluids. It is found in the community and is easily transmitted. The bug affects schools, workplaces and other areas where groups of people are in close proximity, such as hospitals.

The elderly and young can be more vulnerable to the infection and anyone with concerns should call NHS Direct on 0845-4647.

No comments: