An outbreak of vomiting and diarrhoea and a lack of nursing staff has led to beds at Altnagelvin being closed while all routine procedures are to be cancelled, it has been confirmed.
Around 25 beds at the Londonderry hospital are currently off limits to admissions this week, while anyone feeling sick has been urged not to visit friends or relatives.
All non-urgent routine procedures will be cancelled in the coming days.
Dr Dermot Hughes, the Medical Director with the Western Health and Social Care Trust (Western Trust) speaking about the current position said: “Beds at Altnagelvin Hospital have been temporarily closed this week due to a number of ongoing challenges.
“The closures include Ward 5 (Elective Orthopaedics) due to increased instances of vomiting and diarrhoea and other beds throughout the hospital have been closed as a result of available nurse staffing levels and delays in patient discharges.”
Mr Hughes said increased infection prevention and control measures have now been put in place.
“The Trust is reviewing the situation through its business continuity arrangements on a daily basis to ensure we maximise available bed capacity, and ensure the most urgent scheduled operations and treatments are done.”
Dr Hughes added: “The safety of our patients is a fundamental priority for the Trust and this temporary measure has been brought in to maintain a continuity of service and ensure patient safety.
“People should avoid visiting the hospital if they are feeling unwell, particularly if they have diarrhoea and/or vomiting. Those who are visiting are asked to thoroughly wash their hands before and after visiting. Visitors should visit only one patient whilst at the hospital, refrain from sitting on hospital beds and not move from ward to ward when visiting.”
Trust staff will be in contact with those patients in due course to reschedule their appointments.
The Trust has apologised for any inconveniences caused to patients but wishes to reassure the public that these measures have been put in place to ensure patient safety and to manage our reduced hospital bed capacity in a planned way.
Further updates will be uploaded onto the Trust’s Facebook and digital media channels in due course.