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Health chiefs report extremely high levels of Norovirus in Worcestershire
A WINTER vomiting bug is continuing to pile pressure on hospital wards in Worcestershire.
Worcestershire Royal, Redditch Alexandra and Kidderminster Hospitals remain closed to visitors because of Norovirus outbreaks, with health chiefs reporting that levels of the winter vomiting and diarrhoea are 30 per cent higher in Worcestershire than the rest of the West Midlands.
At least 20 beds across the three hospital sites have been closed almost constantly since the start of November, with more than 100 out of commission during spikes in late January and the middle of February.
The highly contagious bug heaps pressure on hospitals as many patients cannot be sent home or into nursing homes and community hospitals because of the risk of spreading the infection.
This can prevent existing patients being discharged and new ones being admitted, and places pressure on accident and emergency departments, making it more difficult to transfer patients to these blocked beds.
As we revealed, accident and emergency departments are struggling severely under the winter strain.
Worcester pensioner Betty Newberry, 88, told us how trollies full of sick people piled up in the corridors of Worcestershire Royal Hospital during her 12 hour wait for a bed, while the latest figures show accident and emergency departments are falling well short of key targets for how quickly they treat patients.
The target is for 95 per cent to be seen, treated, discharged, admitted or transferred within four hours but the latest stats show the accident and emergency at Worcestershire Royal running at just 79.86 per cent.
Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the hospitals, says it does not know exactly what is causing such high levels of Norovirus in Worcestershire but is doing everything it can to control the situation and keep impact to a minimum.
Deputy chief executive Chris Tidman described controlling the spread of Norovirus within the hospitals as a “crucial” part of the trust’s winter plan and that infection control measures are currently being reviewed.
A spokesman for the trust added that extensive measures are in place to keep outbreaks under control.
These include isolating outbreaks and ensuring no new patients are admitted to wards where the virus is present, strict hygiene measures, restricting visiting and the use of specialist cleaning equipment.
Exceptional visiting to Worcestershire Royal, the Alexandra Hospital and Kidderminster Hospital can be arranged by prior agreement with the ward manager. Contact the ward directly for information.