Visiting Times Restricted To Control Norovirus Outbreak

Weston General Hospital is restricting visiting times to one hour a day from 6:30-7:30pm to help minimize an outbreak of Norovirus affecting two wards in the hospital. Otherwise known as the ‘winter vomiting bug’, Norovirus is highly infectious and easily passed from person to person.

These visiting hours will remain in place from today, Thursday 28 November, until further notice. Children under 11 (who are more susceptible to Norovirus) are being discouraged from visiting. And only two visitors will be allowed per bed at any visiting session.

Two wards – Uphill and Kewstoke – have restricted access and visitors are asked not to come to these wards unless it is absolutely necessary. Uphill has confirmed Norovirus, whilst we are awaiting results on Kewstoke ward.

All other wards are open, but the public are asked to follow guidance to help protect themselves, the hospital and the wider community from the bug.

All visitors are asked to:

  • Not visit the hospital if you are feeling unwell with sickness, diarrhoea, fever, sore throat or flu.
  • Wash hands with soap and water after visiting a ward, as alcohol hand rub will not kill the virus.
  • Clean hands with alcohol hand rub or soap and water before entering the ward to reduce bringing infections into the hospital.
  • Not bring children under-11 to the hospital.
  • Not sit on patients’ beds.
  • Check with staff before bringing in food items.
  • Only bring in essentials for patients as clutter on or around the bed makes it difficult to clean.
  • Use public toilets, not patient toilets and remember to wash your hands.

Any patients presenting to the hospital with suspected Norovirus must make themselves known immediately to staff.

Mr Nick Gallegos, Medical Director and Consultant Surgeon at Weston Area Health NHS Trust, said: “Norovirus is very unpleasant and a highly infectious bug. We understand that families and friends want to visit loved ones, but we need to put these actions in place to minimize the chances of the infection spreading.

“Reducing the numbers of visitors to our wards helps quarantine the infection from people unknowingly carrying it into the hospital.

“We do everything we can to prevent and control infection and these restrictions are necessary for us to continue to provide patients with the best possible care.”

Alongside visitor restrictions, stringent processes are in place for hospital staff. Access is restricted to all but essential clinical and healthcare staff such as physiotherapists and dieticians. Gloves and aprons are worn when examining patients and strict hand washing protocols are in place.

Specific wards with any current outbreaks are clearly indicated by banner signs. Extra precautions will be in place in these areas and visitors are discouraged from visiting to protect their own health. However, visitors who choose to enter the ward must do so knowingly, and will need to don a plastic apron whilst they visit and wash their hands thoroughly before they leave.