HEALTH chiefs battling to contain outbreaks of a highly infectious bug at a Derbyshire hospital hope the “unprecedented” situation will improve over the next few days.
Bosses took the drastic step of closing Chesterfield Royal Hospital to visitors last Wednesday after the contagious Norovirus winter vomiting bug struck eight wards.
The Calow hospital remained under lockdown as the Derbyshire Times went to press on Wednesday.
Sarah Turner-Saint, head of communications at the hospital, said: “It’s over a week since we took the unprecedented decision to close our adult in-patient wards to visitors to try and break the cycle of this outbreak – which is the worst we have known.
“This was a tough call to make - but with fewer beds and fewer staff we were in real danger of not being able to provide services to critically ill patients.
“We hope that over the next few days the situation will improve as we self-limit the infection on these wards and the bug dies out.”
She added: “This has been an extremely difficult time for patients and visitors and we appreciate their ongoing support and patience.
“On the whole everyone has been very understanding.”
Norovirus causes violent sickness and diarrhoea and is the most common stomach bug in the UK.
Mrs Turner-Saint called on visitors to be vigilant when the hospital opens its doors again.
She said: “When we do re-open we’d urge visitors not to come under any circumstances if they have had symptoms of diarrhoea and sickness over the past 72 hours.
“Good hand hygiene is vital too – there are hand gels and hand wash stations at all ward entrances and these should be used on arrival and leaving.”
A video on Norovirus can be viewed at www.chesterfieldroyal.nhs.uk.
l For updates on this story keep checking www.derbyshiretimes.co.uk.
NO LONGER OPEN: Chesterfield Royal Hospital.