Winter bug hits hospital patients

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PATIENTS have been hit by a winter vomiting bug outbreak at a Doncaster hospital – leading to a partial ward closure.

One person is still recovering following two separate outbreaks at Tickhill Road Hospital in Balby.

Across the country, there are believed to have been about 100,000 cases over Christmas and New Year, although the majority do not come to the attention of doctors.

So far, Doncaster Royal Infirmary has almost escaped the virulent infection, with only one case, and staff say they ‘want to keep it that way’.

However, the sickness bug has had a much worse effect for Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Tickhill Road, and more than 50 of its staff have been laid low by the virus.

Although the hospital ward remained open, there were restrictions to admissions and the virus was prevented from spreading to other wards.

A spokesman for RDaSH said: “All of our services have continued to operate as normal. The ward staff managed the two outbreaks satisfactorily in accordance with health guidelines.

“The one affected ward remained open. However, there were restrictions to admissions to some bays on the ward. The virus did not spread to other wards.

“The first outbreak affected seven patients and four staff. Eight patients were affected in the second. One patient currently remains affected by norovirus.

“Visitors are allowed to come to the hospital, but we ask them to wash their hands with soap and water, as good hand hygiene can prevent the bug from spreading. Facilities are available at the hospital.”

Up to the end of November, 53 RDaSH staff in Doncaster had been off with sickness or diarrhoea for three days or more.

Meanwhile, staff at DRI and Mexborough’s Montagu Hospital are hoping anyone who has been affected by norovirus will stay away to prevent any repeat of last year, when at one point eight wards across the hospitals were closed.

A spokesman for Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “We don’t have any wards closed because of norovirus. Obviously, we are keen to keep it that way, so we would ask anyone who thinks they might have norovirus – or who has had symptoms of vomiting or diarrhoea within the last 48 hours – not to visit hospital.

“Norovirus is unpleasant, but most people can be safely cared for at home by taking plenty of fluids and using paracetamol in the appropriate doses for any fever or aches and pains.

“Extra care should be taken with babies and young children to ensure they do not become dehydrated.

“If the symptoms last more than a few days, or somebody is already very ill, ring your GP surgery.

“NHS Direct offers advice and information on 0845 46 47 or online at NHS