When news happens, text KENEWS and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
New norovirus outbreak closes four wards at Lancaster hospital
5:06pm Friday 4th January 2013 in News
A NEW outbreak of norovirus - the winter vomiting bug - has forced the closure of four affected wards at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary to visitors.
The Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust has today made the decision to close wards 21, 34, 35, and 37 until at least Monday, when a further update will be issued.
The trust understands that there may be extenuating circumstances where members of the public need to visit loved ones, such as if they seriously ill. If this is the case, the public are asked to call ahead to the ward to arrange visiting.
Jackie Holt, Executive Chief Nurse, said: “By reducing the number of people coming into our hospital, we can reduce the risk of norovirus spreading to further wards.
“This decision has not been taken lightly as we know it will be frustrating for people who have friends and family in hospital but we have a duty of care to protect the wellbeing and safety of our patients and staff, and this has to be our main priority.
“Our staff are working extremely hard to deal with this outbreak quickly and this decision will help us return services to normal as soon as possible. To help us achieve this, we would appreciate the co-operation of the public.”
The norovirus illness affects up to a million people in the UK each year and does not last long and people usually recover between 12 and 60 hours without treatment other than rest and lots of fluids. It is found in the community and is easily transmitted. The bug affects schools, workplaces and other areas where groups of people are in close proximity, such as hospitals.
The elderly and young can be more vulnerable to the infection and anyone with concerns should call NHS Direct on 0845-4647.