The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust has taken the precautionary decision to close three medical wards at Fairfield General Hospital in Bury to visitors following an outbreak of the Norovirus winter vomiting bug.
In order to ensure that the hospital can return to normal as soon as possible, the decision has been made to close wards 6, 19 and 21 to visitors for at least 48 hours from today (Friday, 15 February 2013). All other wards remain unaffected by these restrictions.
The Trust understands that there may be extenuating circumstances where members of the public need to visit loved ones, such as if they are seriously ill. If this is the case, the public are asked to call ahead to the ward to arrange visiting.
If it isn’t deemed as extenuating circumstances, visitors maybe asked not to visit.
Where at all possible, no children are to come to the wards to protect themselves from infection as well as mothers, babies and already sick children. The Trust recognises that this may not be possible for some families and would ask in these circumstances, visitors called the wards ahead of their visit.
For those members of the public that do visit the hospital, they must not have been sick or had diarrhoea in the last 72 hours or been in close contact with someone who has been ill with these symptoms.
Marian Carroll, Director of Nursing at The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, said:
“The priority is to protect our patients and staff and we will be constantly reviewing the situation over the next few days.
“Whilst we understand that this temporary visiting restriction will cause patients and members of the public some frustration, this measure will allow us to help prevent the spread of the infection and ensure safe patient care.
“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.
“This decision may seem drastic, but these precautions are to protect our patients and staff and we would appreciate the co-operation of the public.”
All the other three hospitals run by The Pennine Acute Trust remain currently open to visitors. The public are advised not to visit friends and relatives when they are already ill and patients are being asked to follow the advice given by primary care and to avoid coming to hospital for treatment unless necessary. If patients do need to attend A&E they must inform staff if they have symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting.
Ward 6 deals with respiratory medicine, Ward 19 provides rehabilitation services for stroke patients and Ward 21 is a general medicine ward. All these wards are mixed sex wards.
Issued: 15 February 2013.