The Southern Trust is urging the public not to visit hospitals or other health and care facilities unless absolutely necessary if they, or anyone in their household, have symptoms of cold, flu or other chest conditions .
Dr John Simpson, the Trust’s Medical Director, has said incidents of people with symptoms of illness visiting hospitals and passing on infections to patients on a ward are not uncommon.
“The Southern Trust has some of the lowest levels of infection in Northern Ireland,” said Dr Simpson.
“Our staff have stringent infection control measures in place but they really need public support to help keep our vulnerable patients safe.
“I know that we can count on the local population to support our staff to give patients the best possible care and to assist us in our continued drive against infection.”
He added that family and friends want to visit loved ones when they are in hospital.
“Our patients tell us that and that they are greatly comforted by visits from their family and friends,” continued Dr Simpson.
“Our priority is on keeping our patients safe and there are times when we must restrict visiting to allocated times and ask visitors to help us provide a caring environment.
“We have excellent signage both inside and outside our hospitals reminding visitors to follow a few steps when visiting the hospital that will greatly reduce the spread of infections to vulnerable patients.”
Advice from the Trust includes:
• Do not visit if you or someone in your household has cold, flu, vomiting or diarrhoea.
• Wash hands/use the hand rub provided when entering and leaving wards.
• Two visitors allowed to each patient at a time.
• Do not sit on the bed, touch wounds, drips or drains.
• Don’t bring unnecessary items, flowers or food into the hospital.
• Do not bring hot drinks to the ward for consumption.
• Discuss with the Ward Manager before bringing children or babies to visit.