Bauble ban in fight to beat hospital bug

Christmas decorations have been banned at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, which is battling to contain a virulent sickness bug.

Christmas decorations have been banned at a Norfolk hospital battling to contain a virulent sickness bug.

Patients' families and friends are also being asked to stay away and not visit their loved ones at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn, to help stop the spread of the norovirus winter vomiting bug.

Last night, 17 patients and two staff still had symptoms of the virus, while a total of 109 patients and 95 staff have become infected over the last month.

The restrictions on visitors and Christmas decorations are being brought in following the advice of Infection Control experts as a means of limiting the ways in which the highly infectious bug is spread.

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A hospital spokesman said: "This is a particularly nasty bug and it is proving difficult to keep out of the hospital at the time when it is so widespread in the community.

"On the face of it our new restrictions may appear unnecessarily harsh. But if we are to prevent the winter vomiting bug from spreading further we have to take a very tough line for the sake of our patients and their families.

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"We are asking families not to visit relatives in this hospital unless it is absolutely essential. Visitors will only be permitted at the discretion of the supervising staff on each ward."

He added: "This applies to the entire hospital, not just the wards affected by norovirus, although the children's ward will be treated as a special case.

"This year we are instructing staff not to put up any decorations on the ward or in other clinical areas. The decision will be reviewed on Christmas Eve, in the light of our success, or otherwise, in controlling norovirus."

The only exception on the ban of Christmas decorations is Rudham, the children's ward.

Four wards remain closed to new admissions. They are Elm and Feltwell, which are both surgical, Terrington and Oxborough.

Individual bays are closed on Pentney and Stanhoe and also West Raynham.

Before the ban, visitors had been asked not to take in chocolates, biscuits, flowers or balloons and to observe strict hand-hygiene pro-cedures when entering or leaving wards.

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