Hole in the Wall Gang in hospital message

The cast of Give My Head Peace have been driving home a serious message in a humourous way for Craigavon Area Hospital.

In an effort to raise awareness of visiting rules, Craigavon Area Hospital has released a video starring Ma, Da and Cal from the hit BBC NI show to increase public awareness of the do’s and don’ts.

The Hole in the Wall Gang's Ma, Da and Cal deliver a serious message.

The Hole in the Wall Gang's Ma, Da and Cal deliver a serious message.

Its release comes after the hospital had to cancel all non-emergency inpatient surgeries at the hospital on Wednesday and Thursday due to norovirus.

In a series of sketches, Ma, who is sick in hospital, receives visits from husband, Da, and son, Cal.

Each sketch tackles a different issue, such as visitors who are not well coming to see patients in hospital or bringing hot food and flowers in for patients.

The ‘Respect our Rules’ campaign features four areas of awareness for visitors.

Southern Health Trust chief executive Francis Rice said the hospital had decided to deliver a serious message in a humorous way through online and social media, “We regularly appeal to people coming to our hospitals to respect visiting rules.

“The winter vomiting bug is no laughing matter and it’s widespread in our communities at the minute. People visiting hospital can carry the bug in and pass it on to our patients.

“So we hope this new campaign will explain how everyone can help us stop the spread of the virus.”

The trust’s medical director, Dr Richard Wright, said “Visitors are always very welcome to our hospitals and having visitors can help with patient recovery and wellbeing,”

“However, patients in hospital are often more vulnerable to infection and that’s why it’s so important that visitors do not come if they (or anybody at home) have any symptoms that could be contagious.

“Such symptoms include a cough, runny nose, rash, vomiting or diarrhoea.

“One cause of infection outbreaks on wards is visitors carrying infections in during visits.

“It is really important that everybody cleans their hands using soap and water, or alcohol hand rubs when they enter or leave a ward or other areas of the hospital.

“Sick patients often get tired very quickly and need plenty of time to rest and recuperate so the number of visitors each patient has should be restricted to a maximum of two at a time.”

Dr Lorraine Doherty from the Public Health Agency said the same rules applied when visiting people in nursing and residential homes or attending other healthcare facilities such as doctor’s surgeries.

“It’s not unusual to see an increase in the winter vomiting and diarrhoea virus at this time of year, so we are urging people to take extra care with hand hygiene and, if you have the illness, take simple steps to prevent the spread,” she added.