The Southern Health and Social Care Trust is appealing to the public to comply with its hospital visiting guidance.
“Our staff work tirelessly to ensure that Southern Trust hospitals have some of the lowest levels of infection” said Trust Medical Director Dr John Simpson.
“However we must remain vigilant to keep our patients safe” he continued, “particularly at the moment when there are more cases of vomiting and diarrhoea in the community and when our hospitals are already so busy dealing with the usual winter pressures.
“It is vital that anyone with vomiting, diarrhoea, colds or flu does not visit our hospitals and healthcare facilities. These bugs are highly contagious and can spread quickly in a hospital environment where we have vulnerable patients.
“We do realise that family and friends want to see loved ones in hospital and that patients are greatly comforted by their visits. However, some patients can become ill from infections carried by visitors. To keep patients safe staff must strictly enforce our hospital visiting policy. This policy is based on best practice in infection control.
“There may also be occasions when some wards are closed to visiting completely, so we ask for co-operation with staff if this may be the case.
“We urge people only to visit at allocated times and to follow the guidance published on ward doors. This will greatly help staff to give patients the best possible care and assist us in our continued drive against infection.”
Visiting Guidance includes: washing hands/using the hand rub provided when entering and leaving wards. A maximum of two visitors to each patient at any time. Do not sit on the bed, touch wounds, drips or drains. Don’t bring unnecessary items, flowers or food into the hospital. Restrict children from visiting and do not visit if you or someone in your household has symptoms of cold, flu, vomiting or diarrhoea.