Brighton hospital bosses urge infectious visitors to stay away after winter vomiting bug shuts wards
Brighton hospital bosses are urging infectious visitors to stay away after an outbreak of winter vomiting bug led to the closure of a number of wards.
Three wards at the Royal Sussex County Hospital, in Brighton, were closed yesterday – Vallance, Chichester and Catherine James wards – because of diarrhoea and vomiting.
A bay on Jowers ward was also closed to admissions and transfers for the same reason.
There were five new cases of norovirus – or winter vomiting bug – at the Royal Sussex yesterday (Thursday 23 November) and five the day before.
Bosses at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals (BSUH), the trust that runs the Royal Sussex, said this afternoon (Friday 24 November) that there had been only two new cases in the past 24 hours – one on Chichester Ward and one on Vallance.
The trust also runs the Princess Royal Hospital, in Haywards Heath, where Twineham Ward fully opened yesterday, having been closed for a week.
Hospital bosses urged visitors not to bring the winter vomiting bug on to wards.
The trust said: “Visitors to the Royal Sussex County Hospital are being urged not to attend the hospital if they have symptoms of diarrhoea or vomiting in order to help protect patients on our wards.
“There are currently cases of the highly contagious norovirus vomiting bug on several wards and staff at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust have put in place measures to control the spread of this infection.
“This includes isolating patients and ‘deep cleaning’ affected areas once patients’ symptoms have stopped.
“Patients and visitors are asked to avoid coming into hospitals or GP surgeries if they have any symptoms of diarrhoea or vomiting.
“Norovirus can spread to others very easily. The best thing to do is to stay at home until at least 48 hours after the symptoms have cleared to reduce the risk of passing it on.
The trust’s medical director Rob Haigh said: “Norovirus is highly infectious and highly unpleasant and when it gets into a hospital it spreads very easily.”
Dr Haigh added: “We are urging anyone with any symptoms of vomiting or diarrhoea to stay away from hospitals and ask all visitors to follow good hand hygiene rules and to wash their hands regularly in soap and warm water.”
David Supple, who chairs the Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “Lots can be done to ease the pressure on the hospital.”
Dr Supple added: “The public has a part to play in helping by ensuring they access the right services at the right time, as many people are going to A&E (accident and emergency) with problems that could be treated more quickly elsewhere.”
Health chiefs said: “People are also reminded to only ever visit A&E in an emergency and to make use of all available health services, including calling NHS 111, local pharmacies, GP surgeries and the urgent care centre at Brighton Station for minor injury treatment without an appointment.
“The Help My NHS campaign is being launched next week to further highlight how people can help their local NHS by ensuring they access the right services at the right time.”