Visiting restrictions in place after norovirus outbreak at Royal Lancaster Infirmary

Royal Lancaster Infirmary.'The original old building.
Royal Lancaster Infirmary.'The original old building.

Visiting restrictions have been put in place after another outbreak of winter vomiting bug norovirus at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust said ten patients had the illness - three on the Acute Medical Unit and seven across Ward 20.

Bosses have urged people to not visit hospital if they have recently suffered from, or been in contact with someone who has suffered from, diarrhoea or vomiting.

Visiting is being restricted to Ward 20 while the outbreak is tackled and people wishing to visit the hospital are asked to contact the ward on 01524 583458 to ensure they will be allowed on.

Visitors and patients to the rest of the hospital are reminded that if they have suffered symptoms in the past 48 hours, they should not visit the hospital, unless their condition is life-threatening.

The outbreak comes in the week that a new campaign was launched by the trust encouraging staff, patients and visitors about what they can do to help reduce infections with the message “Is it me, you or them” responsible.

Deputy chief nurse Joann Morse said: “If someone suspects they have norovirus they should ensure they do not visit hospitals, schools or care homes to reduce the risk of them passing it on to others.

“They should also avoid work – and only return after they have been free of diarrhoea and vomiting for at least 48 hours – during this time infectious viruses may still be present.

“We have confirmed the patients are affected by norovirus – and we would ask people to follow our advice to minimise its effects on the hospital, themselves and their families.

“We will try to keep any inconvenience to a minimum, and apologise for the effects in advance.”

The trust said norovirus, a highly-contagious bug, can quickly spread through a hospital and the only way to combat it once it gets inside is to close wards to admissions, restrict visiting and wait for the outbreak to run its course.

It said this could be highly disruptive to patients in those and other wards and, on rare occasions, can lead to patients having surgery or other procedures cancelled.

Norovirus is the most frequent cause of infectious gastroenteritis in England and Wales and typical symptoms are vomiting and diarrhoea.

People suffering will feel very unwell initially but usually improve quickly as the symptoms settle.