90 hit by vomiting bug at Hairmyres Hospital

A Scottish hospital has been forced to close wards after more than 90 patients and staff were struck with a vomiting bug.

Hairmyres Hospital in East Kilbride. Picture: Colin Templeton

NHS Lanarkshire said Hairmyres Hospital in East Kilbride was experiencing “some disruption” due to the vomiting and diarrhoea infection norovirus.

Two wards are closed to new admissions, while four more wards have restrictions placed on them, such as closures to some bays within the ward.

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The outbreak of the bug has seen 63 patients and 28 staff suffering symptoms, with eight patients and three staff still ill.

The health board said that strict standard infection control precautions were in place under the guidance of infection control specialists and the situation was being monitored on a daily basis.

To try to tackle the outbreak, the hospital has suspended its flexible visiting times with visitors to all wards now restricted to 3pm to 4pm and 7pm to 8pm.

The board also reminded the public to follow normal rules of limiting visitrors to two at a time and avoiding taking children to wards.

The hospital remains open to emergency admissions as normal.

Susan Friel, chief of nursing services at Hairmyres Hospital, said: “Our priority is always to ensure the safety of our patients and our clinical staff are trained to deal with such situations.

“We have a comprehensive range of infection control measures in place to manage the risk of the infection.

“No new patients are being admitted to wards that have been affected until our infection prevention and control team are satisfied these restrictions can be removed.”

Ms Friel said it was important that people did not visit hospital if they felt unwell or were experiencing symptoms of diarrhoea or vomiting.

“People who feel unwell or think they have the symptoms of norovirus should wait until they have been clear of them for at least 48 hours as they may still be infectious,” she said.

“Patients and visitors can also help us to control the infection by maintaining good hygiene, especially regular hand washing with soap and water before visiting and when leaving the ward area, before eating and after visiting the toilet.”

The winter of 2012/13 saw hospitals across Scotland being hit with high levels of the vomiting bug, putting pressure on services and increasing waiting times in A&E.

It led to the creation of the Scottish National Hand Hygiene Campaign -www.washyourhandsofthem.com - to try to avoid a repeat of the situation.