September 25, 2008
Midland Hospitals Cancel Operations Over Winter Bug Outbreak
By Emma Brady
Two Midland hospitals have cancelled all non-emergency operations for today and tomorrow, and 15 wards remain closed across the region as patients recover from an outbreak of the winter vomiting bug, norovirus, yesterday.
Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust - which runs the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch, Royal Worcestershire in Worcester, and Kidderminster Hospital - remains the worst hit, with 120 patients on 14 wards still suffering from diarrhoea and vomiting.
Ward D11 at City Hospital, in Winson Green, Birmingham, also remains closed to new admissions as eight patients are still displaying symptoms, which usually last for 48 hours. Four patients at Warwick Hospital have also been diagnosed with the bug, but no wards have been closed as yet. The Alexandra Hospital and Worcestershire Royal Hospital have seen a "steady increase" in the number of people with diarrhoea and vomiting.
John Rostill, the trust's chief executive, said: "We strongly advise people to think twice before visiting family and friends and to do so only if it is essential.
"If they have to visit then they will need to wash their hands with soap and water as they enter and leave the ward and also use the hand gel.
"Using the hand alcohol rub on its own is not sufficient to kill these particular germs."
Norovirus is prevalent in the community and anyone who has been in contact with family or friends suffering from diarrhoea or vomiting in the past 48 hours should not visit already vulnerable hospital patients.
A spokesman for Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs City Hospital, added: "We have an aggressive policy for dealing with norovirus, which means we act immediately to close the affected ward and stop all visitors and non essential staff entering the ward when patients exhibit any common norovirus symptoms."
All visiting was suspended at most of Warwick Hospital yesterday, but one visitor per patient is still permitted at the intensive care unit, MacGregor children's unit, Swan maternity ward and the coronary care unit.
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