Visitors banned at hospital

VISITORS to the Royal Lancaster Infirmary have been banned, with the exception of some key areas, due to the ongoing outbreak of the winter vomiting bug.

Nine wards at the hospital have been affected by the highly contagious winter bug which affects up to a million people in the UK each year.

Whilst the situation at the hospital is improving, it is not doing so as quickly as expected.

Therefore, the decision has been taken to ban all visiting at the hospital with the exception of the Oncology Ward, Intensive Care Unit, Children’s Ward (Ward 32), Maternity Ward (Ward 17), Central Delivery Suite and end of life patients.

There may be other extenuating circumstances so if you feel your visit is essential, please contact the ward beforehand.

For those members of the public that visit these key areas, they are asked to phone the ward beforehand and ensure they wash their hands with soap and water before entering the hospital.

Alcohol gel is not effective against norovirus.

Unless it is an emergency, no member of the public should come to the hospital at all if they have been sick or had diarrhoea in the last 72 hours or been in close contact with someone who has.

Peter Dyer, Medical Director, said: “Whilst we understand that this will cause patients and members of the public some frustration, this measure will allow us to help prevent the spread of the infection and ensure safe patient care.

“Our staff have been working extremely hard to deal with this outbreak quickly but resolving this outbreak is taking longer than we expected. This decision will help us return services to normal as soon as possible.

“This decision may seem drastic but these precautions are to protect our patients and staff and we would appreciate the co-operation of the public.”

“The Norovirus illness 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.