Hospital closed by vomiting bug

A CLOSURE-threatened community hospital has been forced to temporarily shut its doors to new admissions due to a severe vomiting epidemic.Health bosses were forced to take the drastic step of closing Sudbury's Walnuttree Hospital last week after its 32 beds were full with patients struck down by the bug.

A CLOSURE-threatened community hospital has been forced to temporarily shut its doors to new admissions due to a severe vomiting epidemic.

Health bosses were forced to take the drastic step of closing Sudbury's Walnuttree Hospital last week after its 32 beds were full with patients struck down by the bug.

The news has been met with concern by campaigners looking to save the much-loved facility - just weeks before a decision over its future is due to be taken.

South Suffolk MP Tim Yeo said the temporary closure was a “timely reminder” to the community about the importance of the hospital, as patients would otherwise have to travel to West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St Edmunds.


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“I think this shows how important the Walnuttree is and proves what extra pressure the West Suffolk would be under if our hospital closed permanently,” he told the EADT.

“This is bound to have brought some anxiety into the community as it shows what could happen if the hospital closed and elderly patients were forced to go to Bury, which would increase the strain for patients and their families.

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“This is one of many reasons why the Walnuttree is so highly thought of in Sudbury and the surrounding area.”

The hospital was closed on Thursday after a sudden influx of patients with a diarrhoea and vomiting virus but bosses hope to reopen later this week.

Michael Mandlestam, member of the Walnuttree Hospital Action Committee said: “When you have this kind of epidemic or infection, you need hospitals which can cope with extra capacity.

“If you close the Walnuttree, then the consequences of any outbreak would be much, much worse.”

A spokesman for Suffolk West Primary Care Trust said: “We can confirm that Walnuttree Hospital has been closed for new admissions since Thursday .

“This is because of a diarrhoea and vomiting virus and closing is part of our standard infection procedure. We hope to re-open by the end of the week.”

The Walnuttree and St Leonard's hospitals in the town face closure after health bosses outlined controversial plans to axe all 32 beds at the ageing facilities in a bid to cut huge debts in the region's health system.

Further cuts to beds and services were also planned for Newmarket and West Suffolk hospitals and were presented in the trust consultation document Modernising Healthcare in West Suffolk.

The proposals - due to be discussed by the trust board later this month - were met by widespread concern among the community.

A hard-fought campaign ensued and protestors marched to Downing Street in November to take their fight direct to the heart of central government.

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