Worcestershire hospitals to isolate norovirus patients
Hospital patients with norovirus are to be treated in isolated wards in an effort to stop the infection spreading.
From 1 October, Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust will quarantine patients admitted to the Worcestershire Royal and the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch.
Last year the trust was forced to cancel more than 800 operations as a result of the winter vomiting bug.
The norovirus outbreak last winter cost the trust £2.3m, a spokesperson said.
Heather Gentry from the trust said: "Last year we suffered more than ever as a result of norovirus... this means that we can better isolate this highly infectious bug and reduce the likely spread of infection to others.
"We may still need to restrict bays on other wards for a short period of time if a patient develops symptoms unexpectedly after admission, but this will be a precautionary measure."
Visiting for all wards will be restricted from 15:00 to 19:30 from October, the trust said.
Paul Crawford, patient representative for the NHS in Worcestershire, welcomed the contingency plans.
"We must do anything we possibly can (to prevent the spread) and it's got to make sense," he said.
"Restricting visiting hours will at least help fight it. Last year it went on and on - this year we want to be prepared."