Visiting restrictions as Bath's Royal United appeals for help to curb the spread of norovirus
Visiting restrictions have been imposed at Bath's Royal United Hospital in an attempt to slow the spread of the highly-infectious norovirus.
Hospital bosses have appealed to the public for help in an attempt to keep the RUH as free as possible from norovirus.
The RUH has placed visiting restrictions on four wards due to diarrhoea and vomiting and director of nursing Francesca Thompson said the hospital needed the support of the public to ensure more wards were not put at risk.
She said: “Currently we have restricted visiting in place for each of these affected wards and we need the public to respect these restrictions in order to help us reduce the spread of infection.
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“However, visitors who are unwell are still coming into the hospital and this is causing us problems.
“We recognise visiting a person in hospital plays a vital part in aiding their treatment, recovery and overall care.
“Closure of wards to visitors and new patients is an important infection control measure the hospital uses because norovirus spreads very easily through contact with anyone who already has the bug.
“We ask that relatives contact wards directly before they set out - if they feel their visit is absolutely vital - this will help to prevent the risk of bringing infection into the hospital and avoid unnecessary journeys.”
Each ward hit by norovirus has to go through a countdown process before it can be given the all-clear. When all patients on the ward are symptom free for 48 hours housekeepers can begin the deep clean process.
Only when these measures have been taken can the ward reopen to visitors and new patient admissions.
This means there are fewer beds available for new patients and recovering patients may need to wait longer than necessary to be discharged to a community hospital or nursing home.
While norovirus can be a nasty experience, it is normally short-lived and people usually recover quickly.
Patients and visitors are reminded not to come into the hospital if they have had symptoms of diarrhoea and/or vomiting in the previous 48 hours, or have been in close contact with anyone with these symptoms.
People who are otherwise fit and healthy will make a full recovery from norovirus without any medical intervention.
If the symptoms persist, or seem to be getting worse, people are advised to ring their GP surgery.
The nurse or GP can say over the phone if they need to be seen, and appropriate arrangements can be made.
Alternatively contact NHS Direct on 0845 4647.