Winter vomiting bug shuts four wards at Norwich hospital

Four wards have been closed at a Norwich hospital due to a winter vomiting bug.

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital has four wards closed to new admissions, while the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston has three wards closed for the same reason and some planned operations have had to be postponed.

A spokesman for the N&N said: 'Norovirus is widely circulating in the community and we currently have four wards closed to new admissions as a precautionary measure while we continue to carry out tests for the virus.

'In order to protect our patients and their families we are asking that only close family members visit the hospital and that they do not bring in children under 12 years old.

'Please avoid visiting if you have had a stomach bug or if you have been in contact with anyone who has had symptoms over the last 48 hours.

'We are asking all visitors to ensure that they wash their hands with hot water and soap before entering and on leaving ward areas.'

At the James Paget, patients coming into A&E at are experiencing longer waiting times for assessment and admissions into hospital are also being delayed.

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The hospital is urging anyone who needs medical treatment for minor injury and illness not to automatically come to A&E but consider other healthcare options.

A spokesman for the James Paget said: 'The seasonal increase in Norovirus and the closure of wards has added to the pressures we are currently facing.'

Some patients visiting the hospital for elective surgery have had to have their treatment postponed.

Visitors are asked to wash their hands with soap and water when entering and leaving a ward, to visit only one ward, not to sit on the beds and not to eat or drink while visiting a ward.

Director of Nursing at the James Paget, Carole Crocker, said: 'It is regrettable that some routine elective surgery has again been affected and we sincerely apologise for the inconvenience this might cause for some patients, especially those who have had a previous cancellation.

'A high level of illness within the local community has led to increased demand on the hospital and some patients have conditions which require them to stay in hospital for longer. This has led to a fall in the number of discharges from the trust and placed extra demand on our resources. We do not take the decision to cancel surgery lightly, but the level of demand has unfortunately led us to take this step.'

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn has one ward closed and one bay shut on another ward.

The West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds had several wards shut earlier this month, but now has just one bay in one ward affected by norovirus.