Hospital Trust introduces temporary restriction on visitors

Staff at Southampton’s teaching hospitals have introduced a temporary restriction on visitors to prevent further spread of the winter vomiting bugs.

While only four wards at Southampton General Hospital remain closed to new admissions, doctors are concerned that sustained high levels of diarrhoea and vomiting in the community could worsen the situation if visitors bring the infection into the hospital.

“We have contained the spread of sickness bugs within hospital well throughout November and December and over Christmas, but cases have remained high outside and we are now beginning to see that have an effect on us,” explained Judy Gillow, director of nursing at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.

“Therefore, as we look to prevent widespread infection among our patients and staff, we have introduced a temporary restriction on visitors to help protect our patients.”

Anyone who attends hospital with urgent medical problems but is suffering from a virus or has been in contact with someone with sickness should tell staff about it immediately on arrival so they can be treated separately, as this virus is highly infectious.

Despite the restrictions, visiting is permitted on agreement with nursing staff. Anyone planning to visit Southampton General, the Princess Anne Hospital or hospice Countess Mountbatten House is asked to call their relevant ward and department.

Ms Gillow added: “While it is important we do everything we can to prevent people fuelling the spread of these highly contagious bugs around our hospitals, we fully understand that some patients will benefit from seeing visitors, we just ask that this is agreed with ward staff to ensure we protect the most vulnerable patients."

Posted on Friday 28 December 2012