Hospital ops hit by virus

DONCASTER Royal Infirmary has been forced to cancel some non urgent operations because of the flu outbreak.

Bosses at the hospital have confirmed they have had to take action because of the number of cases of the illness in the borough.

They have also stopped some of the hospital's outpatient services because of the pressure flu has put on the site.

At present, the trust which runs the DRI - the Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Trust - has nine patients with swine flu across its three hospitals. But they have 1,000 beds in the DRI, Montagu Hospital, and Bassetlaw Hospital.

Communications manager Hazel Brand said: "We have cancelled some elective surgery, and some outpatient clinics, because of unprecedented activity - not just swine flu but all forms of viral infections around at the moment.

"We expect these cancellations, particularly surgery, to continue this week and possibly next.

"It's not just that we need beds for very sick patients, who have succumbed to seasonal illnesses - it's also that we don't want to bring patients in to hospital when catching an infection might worsen their own condition."

Four people are reported to have died from swine flu in Rotherham.

But bosses at NHS Doncaster have not been notified of any deaths as a result of swine flu, said a spokesmen.

And they are satisfied with the level of vaccine currently available.

Rupert Suckling, deputy director of public health for NHS Doncaster, said: "The flu vaccine is ordered by GPs based on an estimated rate of uptake and their registers of patients in at risk groups.

"Currently we have enough seasonal vaccine to provide vaccinations for those in the at risk groups.

"We also have a stock of H1N1 swine flu vaccine to utilise if necessary."

People are being urged to contact their family doctor if they are in an at risk groups.

Health bosses warn anyone can get flu, at any age, but for this winter the following groups are listed as 'at risk':

* People of any age with chronic heart, lung, metabolic disorders including severe asthma and diabetes, kidney problems or a lowered immune system due to treatment or disease;

* Pregnant women;

* Everyone aged 65 and over;

* Those in long stay residential care accommodation where flu, once introduced, may spread rapidly.

Vaccination is also recommended for carers, defined as those who are in receipt of a carers allowance, or those who are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill.

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