Alex Hospital re-opens to visitors

By Ian Dipple Monday 10 February 2014 Updated: 10/02 15:36

A BAN on visitors to the Alexandra Hospital has been lifted following an outbreak of norovirus.

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust say last week's outbreak of the winter vomiting and diarrhoea bug has been contained at the Woodrow Drive site.

In total six wards were affected at different times during the outbreak and four bays on three wards are currently still out of action but should be re-opened soon.

But as norovirus is still around in the community, visitors are still being urged to follow infection prevention advice.

It includes only two people visiting at a time, anyone unwell with sickness or diarrhoea in the last 48 hours staying away from the hospital and using the hand gel provided before and after entering wards.

People should also not touch drips, wounds or catheters or sit on the bed when visiting. Any concerns about cleanliness standards should also be reported.

Lindsey Webb, the Trust's chief nursing officer, said: "We would like to thank all of those people who, over the past few days, have heeded our advice and avoided visiting the hospitals. We would also like to thank those who have arrived and been turned away for their understanding of the situation.

"This extra vigilance really does mean that we have been able to control the situation quickly and I am pleased to report that visiting is now back to normal. However, we do still urge visitors to follow our infection control advice when coming to the hospital to help us keep the situation contained."

It is the second major outbreak to affect the Alex following one just before Christmas. But on both occasions staff have been able to control spread of the bug faster than winter 2012 when visiting was restricted for several weeks, leading to at least £800,000 of lost income and about 200 cancelled operations.

Stewart Messer, the Trust's chief operating officer, told a recent board meeting that was partly due to new measures designed to contain outbreaks such as the creation of cohort wards - where patients admitted with or developing norovirus are treated in a separate area to other people - but he added the virus was also less widespread than last winter.

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