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Public urged to help keep bugs at bay

Local hospitals are asking for the public’s support as cases of norovirus (diarrhoea and vomiting) are reported in the community.

This winter, the hospitals will take the usual measures to prevent the spread of infection to ensure, as far as possible, the safety of patients and the smooth running of the hospital.

The public can play a vital role in keeping infections out of our hospitals by:

  • Following any visiting restrictions
  • Not visiting hospital at all if you, or any members of your household, have had any kind of sickness and/or diarrhoea in the past 48 hours – even if you think it may be food poisoning
  • Always washing your hands with warm water and soap after using the toilet, before eating, and if your hands look visibly dirty
  • When coming into hospital, always using the alcohol hand gel provided in the hospitals’ main entrances, before entering and when leaving a ward

There are occasions when visiting to hospital wards will be restricted, and visitors will only be allowed with prior agreement from the nurse in charge. This decision is based on levels of Norovirus in the community.

Director of Nursing and Patient Services at Poole Hospital, Martin Smits, said: “The public and our patients rightly expect their local hospitals to be clean and safe, and Poole, Bournemouth and Christchurch hospitals have excellent infection control and safety records.

“If you are due to come into hospital for a planned procedure or operation and have been unwell with any kind of sickness and/or diarrhoea, it is important you ring the hospital to discuss this before you come in.

“Of course, it’s not just about the public playing their part – our staff have to as well. We continually provide training to staff and carry out hand audits to ensure clinical areas are compliant in hand hygiene standards.”

Paula Shobbrook, Director of Nursing and Infection Prevention and Control at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital, said: “The safety of our patients is our priority, so while we don’t take the decision to implement restrictions lightly, sometimes it is essential to avoid the spread of infection and protect our patients. The hospitals are extremely busy and we want to ensure they run smoothly. Norovirus prevents us from admitting and discharging patients on affected wards, which then affects how well our hospitals are running.

“We know that visiting is really important for our patients and review the situation regularly to ensure restrictions can be lifted as soon as possible. At these times we really appreciate the co-operation received from both patients and visitors.”

You can keep up-to-date with visiting restrictions at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital via where you can also find a short film on how to help prevent infection in hospital and at home as well as a short animation on effective hand washing.

Date: 11 October 2012

This is a joint press release with Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals

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For more information contact the communications team on 01202 442269 or email

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Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Longfleet Road, Poole, Dorset BH15 2JB. Tel: 01202 665511

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