How Is Flu Affecting Our Hospitals?

11 January 2011, 09:23

It looks like the flu and Norovirus situation's easing slightly at hospitals on the South Coast.


There’s been a seasonal increase in the numbers of people attending the Emergency Department at Queen Alexandra Hospital. This has proven challenging over the holiday period and persists as the numbers of people presenting with flu like symptoms continues.

The Trust is promoting the 'Choose Well' message, to ensure that people go to the most appropriate place to receive treatment for a medical condition before considering coming to the Emergency Department.

This is for emergencies, such as loss of consciousness, severe chest pain, breathing difficulties, serious accidents and severe bleeding.

The hospital is also urging carers and family members of patients who have been made ready for discharge from the hospital to ensure prompt pick up. This will help the Trust to continue to run the hospital effectively at this busy time.

The Health Protection Agency is expecting flu-like illness to remain for a number of weeks, but it is important to be aware that the number of cases of flu being reported is in line with what would be expected in any winter and is not at epidemic level.

By following the Catch It, Kill It, Bin It process we can all help prevent the spread of flu this winter.

You’ll find the symptoms of flu listed on the NHS Choices website:

For most people, flu will make you feel unwell, but can be treated at home with rest, plenty of fluids and paracetamol. Most people will feel well again within a week.

You should try to self-treat at home, but should contact your GP if you have a flu-like illness and have one of the underlying health conditions listed on the NHS Choices website. Don’t go to an accident and emergency centre with a flu-like illness. This will put undue pressure on our hospitals.


The ban on visitors to Poole Hospital will be lifted from lunchtime on Tuesday 11 January. However, visiting will be restricted to a maximum of two people per patient, due to high levels of flu and winter sickness still circulating in the community.

To help us protect our patients, visitors are urged not to come in to the hospital if they have any flu-like symptoms, or have had any diarrhoea or sickness in the last three days.

Patients should attend for outpatient appointments and tests unless they have coughs, colds or have had a tummy bug in the last three days.

If they have any concerns, patients are urged to phone ahead before coming into the hospital.

Poole Hospital treats a high number of emergency patients, so the number of patients we are caring for with flu symptoms can change very quickly. As such, numbers fluctuate daily. However, the hospital continues to treat some patients with flu or flu-like symptoms, as is common for this time of year, and the number across the hospital remains similar to last week.

The hospital is coping well with the additional demand on services, and routine surgery commenced again today after the planned break over the Christmas and New Year period.


A spokesperson for the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals commented:

“The Trust has seen an increase in patient respiratory illnesses over the last three weeks, however no appointments or operations have been cancelled.

“The Trust has robust plans in place to support business continuity during the winter months, which is always a busy period as we see patients with flu like symptoms and associated health problems. A number of schemes have been introduced this year to ensure our services remain resilient during the winter period, including:

-Opening an additional ward at Christchurch for three months for patients who are medically stable and do not need therapy.

-Additional staff capacity continued work across the Trust to ensure efficient discharge and reduced length of stay.

“Remember, anyone suffering from sickness or diarrhoea in the past 48 hours should not visit hospital. Stay warm, drink plenty of fluids and seek advice from your GP or NHS Direct if your symptoms worsen.”