By Harriet Ernstsons Thursday 10 October 2013 Updated: 14/10 09:28
HOSPITAL bosses have launched a campaign aimed at stopping the spread of infections.
An event at the Alexandra Hospital saw visitors having their handwashing techniques scored and mobile phone dirt measured in a bid to reduce the likelihood of an outbreak of norovirus or other illnesses this winter.
Staff from Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust will also be quizzing staff and patients about their knowledge and handing out information and tips about how everyone can do their bit to help.
Repeated outbreaks of the winter vomiting and diarrhoea bug norovirus hit the Woodrow Drive hospital hard last year. Several wards had to be closed and on occasions all but essential visitors were banned. The outbreaks contributed to the cancellation of several hundred operations at a time when the hospital was under pressure as a result of a harsh winter and a spike in demand through A&E.
Heather Gentry, lead infection prevention and control nurse, said: "Every year our hospitals come under extra pressure as a result of infections which spread rapidly when in a confined environment.
"Last year we suffered more than ever as a result of norovirus spreading through our wards, ultimately leading to cancelled operations.
"As well as putting new measures in place this year to limit the spread of infection where possible, we are reminding people early on what they can do to help and hope that they take the key messages on board."
Advice includes residents not visiting hospital if they have had sickness or diarrhoea in the last 48 hours, using hand gel before and after visiting a ward and sitting on a chair not the bed when visiting a patient.
As reported in the Standard last month, the Trust is also setting new visiting hours of 3pm to 7.30pm for all wards and only allowing two visitors per patient at a time, as well as introducing separate wards for anyone with norovirus.
This winter hospital bosses are also setting up specific wards for patients with diarrhoea and vomiting to keep them in one place and reduce the risk of the infection spreading to other areas.
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