Hospital 'regrets' virus outbreak closure

PUBLISHED: 15:46 03 January 2012 | UPDATED: 17:41 03 January 2012

Three wards are partially closed to visitors

Three wards are partially closed to visitors

Archant

WESTON General Hospital has been left with 'no alternative' but to remain partially closed to visitors after an outbreak of a winter vomiting bug almost three weeks ago.

The norovirus, which causes diarrhoea and sickness, broke out in three hospital wards on December 16. Two have since reopened as normal.

A spokesman for Weston Area Health Trust said it was with ‘regret’ that visiting times had been cut to prevent the outbreak spreading in Steepholm ward. At present, two people can visit a patient between 6.30-7.30pm.

Julia Stroud, acting director of nursing, said the trust would inform the public when all restrictions are fully in place.

She said: “It is regretful that the norovirus problem has persisted, and it gives us no alternative but to continue with these restrictions.

“Restricting movement around our wards is crucial to reducing the risk of the infection spreading to more patients and their family members and our commitment to patient safety leaves us no option but to continue with this course of action.

“Restricting visiting helps reduce the risk of infection spread in a number of ways. We can make sure our wards are spotlessly clean as the fewer people there are on a ward, the more thorough our cleaning staff can be.

“The reduced number of people coming onto the wards means there is less risk of visitors accidently bringing infections, such as diarrhoea or vomiting, into the hospital.

“Shorter visiting times will also ensure that patients get more time to rest, which is vitally important for recovery after surgery or illness, and means they will be able to return to their own homes more quickly.”

NHS infection guidelines state a ward must retain restricted access until 48 hours after the bug has disappeared.

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