A new infection control czar has been appointed at Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) and a campaign launched to combat the risk of the spread of Ebola, flu and winter vomiting bugs.
Staff at the hospital have been issued with masks with visors to wear when treating infected patients to prevent them transferring germs.
Dr Ian Hosein, interim associate medical director for infection prevention and control, said: “The trust is taking strong steps towards preventing the spread of infectious diseases.
“Flu and norovirus are particularly active in the community at this time of year and our campaign serves as a reminder to staff, patients and visitors about the simple steps that they can follow to stop these diseases from spreading in the community and from entering the hospital.”
The promotion of good hand hygiene is at the centre of the “Be Effective Not Infected” campaign, with hand-washing being one of the best and easiest ways to stop the transfer of the bugs being targeted.
Visitors are also being asked not to take homemade cakes or other food into the hospital because they are said to pose a contamination risk.
In addition the hospital has begun using bottled water to reduce the risk of norovirus – otherwise known as winter vomiting. Mobile sink units have been bought for wards where there is a risk of norovirus to make hand-washing easier as well as dishwashers for those wards to allow shared crockery to be cleaned without being transferred elsewhere.
Norovirus outbreaks lead to the closure of wards at hospitals throughout the country and wards have already been closed for periods at the QEH this year.
Dr Hosein said: “We are emphasising that Norovirus is spread by being ingested and handwashing stops this if the hands have been contaminated.
“I would like to remind anyone that has experienced vomiting and or diarrhoea within the last 48 hours that they should not visit hospital as this puts patients and staff at risk.
“I would also ask visitors not to bring self-prepared food items into hospital as these items could be contaminated and put patients at risk of getting Norovirus infection.
“This may then result in ward closures which puts the hospital under severe pressure at what is traditionally our busiest time of the year.”