Outbreak of norovirus piles more pressure on emergency unit at Lanarkshire hospital

The emergency care unit at University Hospital Wishaw is out of bounds to visitors due to an ongoing outbreak of norovirus.

Visiting was suspended at the weekend as beleaguered staff attempted to contain the bug and prevent it from spreading.

The emergency care unit at the hospital consists of the integrated accident and emergency unit and a 36-bed ward.

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Infection control and prevention measures were implemented after patients within two shared rooms in the unit developed symptoms of the virus, which is also known as the winter vomiting bug.

The hospital has been under extreme pressure in recent weeks and months with staff morale suffering as a result.

Lanarkshire Live recently revealed that patients were being diverted to Monklands Hospital in Airdrie as Wishaw’s A&E department struggled to cope with increased demand and bed shortages.

Scotland’s Health Secretary Humza Yousaf apologised after Central Scotland MSP Meghan Gallacher questioned what support was being provided to NHS Lanarkshire.

The Health Secretary admitted that some patients were not “getting the service or care that they or, indeed, we would expect”.

NHS Lanarkshire was assigned 64 military medics to support its three acute hospitals in Wishaw, Airdrie and East Kilbride. Initially they were expected to be in place until November 11, but that was extended to December 17.

Scottish Greens health spokesperson Gillian Mackay also highlighted how premature baby twins from Motherwell had to be moved to a hospital in Fife because of staff shortages and a lack of cots at Wishaw’s neonatal unit.

Twins Blair and Hamish

The twins, Hamish and Blair, were recently moved back to University Hospital Wishaw after three weeks in the Victoria Hospital in Kircaldy, where their parents had remained by their cot-side.

New guidance was also issued to A&E staff recently in a bid to reduce the numbers waiting to be seen, and the latest outbreak of Norovirus will have placed even more strain on the unit.

Janice Miles, interim chief nurse at University Hospital Wishaw, said: “Restrictions are currently in place in two shared rooms within the emergency care unit at University Hospital Wishaw due to suspected Norovirus.

“Visiting has currently been suspended and strict infection prevention and control measures are in place to reduce the spread of any infection and ensure the rooms are back to normal as soon as possible.

“The safety of our patients and staff is of paramount importance and we would like to reassure everyone that we are taking all necessary action to ensure safe and effective patient care at this time. The situation continues to be monitored very closely.

“To respect and maintain patient confidentiality it is not possible to release any further information at this time.”

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Daily Record – Motherwell