Norovirus At Bedford Hospital

26 February 2015, 11:53 | Updated: 26 February 2015, 12:03

FOUR wards have been closed at Bedford Hospital following cases of Norovirus, affecting bed capacity across the Trust.

  • Visitors are asked to check before visiting
  • Public urged not to attend A&E unless absolutely necessary, as closed wards affects capacity
  • Anyone with symptoms of diarrhoea or vomiting are being asked to stay away from the hospital, unless it is an emergency
  • People with symptoms should stay at home, drink plenty of fluids and take paracetamol for any fever, aches and pains

 Arnold Whitchurch Ward, the Coronary Care Unit, Harpur Ward and Whitbread Ward, have all been closed to new admissions and transfers, with another ward on high alert. It follows a rise in the number of cases reported in the community.

As part of the measures put in place to tackle the virus, those visiting patients have been requested to phone in advance to check on any visiting restrictions and not to visit a patient without speaking with the nurse in charge.

With ward closures affecting capacity across the hospital, members of the public are being asked to think very carefully before coming to A&E and to only attend if their condition is serious or life-threatening and cannot be seen by a GP or pharmacist. Anyone who has experienced symptoms of diarrhoea or vomiting within the last 48 hours are being asked to stay away from the hospital, unless it is an emergency, and instead to call their GP.

Eileen Doyle, Chief Operating Officer at Bedford Hospital, said: “Norovirus is very unpleasant for our patients and so we do all that we can to help prevent it from entering our hospital.

“When we do experience cases we work hard to minimise its spread as much as possible by isolating affected patients, closing affected wards and in some cases restricting visiting.  

“Closing wards at this busy time of year seriously impacts on our capacity, so we are doing all we can to reopen them as quickly as possible. People can help us by using other NHS services first, such as their pharmacy, GP, local walk-in centre or 111. Doing so will help us in our efforts to care for our most seriously ill patients and to tackle the Norovirus outbreak.”

All staff, visitors and patients entering and leaving our hospital wards are requested to wash their hands with soap and water to help prevent the spread of the virus (alcohol gel does not kill the virus).

Local GP and urgent care lead for Bedfordshire CCG, Dr Fran Ross, said: “Norovirus is highly contagious and there is nothing your GP or A&E doctors can do while you have it. Drink plenty of water and take paracetamol for any fever or aches and pains and take special care to prevent babies, small children and the elderly from dehydrating. Only ring your GP if you already have a serious illness or your symptoms last longer than a few days.”

Further information and advice on Norovirus can be found at

Facts About The Norovirus

  • Norovirus is also called viral gastroenteritis or the winter vomiting bug.
  • Norovirus comes on suddenly, with little warning and it causes a very unpleasant, but generally short-lived illness from which most people will recover without treatment. The illness usually completely resolves in one or two days and there are no long term effects.
  • As well as diarrhoea and / or vomiting, some people may have stomach cramps, a raised temperature, headaches and aching limbs. People who are unwell should ensure they drink plenty of fluids to remain hydrated and it's particularly important for young children or the elderly who are unwell with the virus.
  • Those affected should also stay away from work, or school, until they have recovered, as it can be transmitted by contact with an infected person; by consuming contaminated food or water or by contact with contaminated surfaces or objects.