Hospital allays fears over virus spread

PATIENTS needing accident and emergency care were placed on a maternity ward because there was nowhere else for them to go, it has emerged.Bosses at West Suffolk Hospital have sought to allay fears that the two patients placed in separate bays, away from nursing mothers, on the ward had the contagious winter vomiting virus, after one of them fell sick.

PATIENTS needing accident and emergency care were placed on a maternity ward because there was nowhere else for them to go, it has emerged.

Bosses at West Suffolk Hospital have sought to allay fears that the two patients placed in separate bays, away from nursing mothers, on the ward had the contagious winter vomiting virus, after one of them fell sick.

Gwen Nuttall, the hospital's director of operations for West Suffolk Hospital, said: “The two patients taken on to the maternity ward did not have the winter vomiting virus.

“The patients had been waiting in accident and emergency for a long time and it was in their best interests to be in a ward environment.


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“When the decision was taken to put them on a separate bay in the maternity ward, there was no intention of putting anyone at risk.

“They were taken to a separate bay in the maternity ward and nursed by medical staff, not midwives.

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“Neither of the patients had been sick before they left accident and emergency, but unfortunately one woman was sick whilst on the ward, but was not diagnosed with the winter vomiting virus. Both were taken off the ward within four hours.”

Ten patients have been diagnosed with winter vomiting virus - on wards F7, G3 and on a side room off G4. The hospital has also had five staff off sick with the bug.

Since the virus was brought into hospital last week, infection experts there have been working flat to control the spread of disease.

Last night, trust bosses urged members of the public to stay away from hospital if they have diarrhoea and vomiting and called on everybody wash their hands with soap and water to prevent the spread of disease.

Consultant microbiologist at the hospital, Dr Caroline Barker, said: “It is not unexpected to have cases of winter vomiting virus in the hospital at this time. It is not a crisis and is being managed under our routine winter vomiting virus policy.

“As soon as there was any question of cases of diarrhoea and vomiting in the hospital, we instigated our control measures.

“We are being pro-active and so far it seems to be working as today there are no new patients in those wards affected by norovirus and the infection has not spread to any other wards.

“The cleaning staff are working flat out to make sure those affected wards have enhanced cleaning.”

laurence.cawley@eadt.co.uk

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