PERFORMANCE: A hospital fire and an outbreak of the norovirus is putting acute services under strain in Hampshire.

Winchester and Eastleigh Healthcare NHS Trust has reported that it has returned to “business as usual” three days after the radiology department at its Royal Hampshire County Hospital was closed due to a fire.

A press release issued by the trust today said that the winter vomiting bug also caused wards to be closed over the weekend.

This afternoon Royal Hampshire’s emergency department was open for minor injuries only with ambulances being diverted to Southampton General Hospital and Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital for emergency patients.

The Royal Hampshire had mobile CT and MRI scanners on site, and was expecting to run a full emergency service from Monday evening.

Emergency departments in Southampton, Portsmouth and Basingstoke were described as “extremely busy”. Patients were encouraged to use minor injuries units, local pharmacies and their GP if they felt unwell or had a minor injury.

All outpatient services have been running as normal and most elective treatment has also been carried out today as planned.

Extra beds were opened at sites across the area, with social care services and community services working with Hampshire hospitals to ensure patients are discharged as soon as possible.

Sarah Elliott, director of nursing for the Southampton, Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Portsmouth primary care trust cluster, said: “Whilst the fire at RHCH and the outbreak of norovirus has put our local NHS services under pressure we are working together to ensure local residents are able to access the services they need.”

She urged residents to avoid hospital if they have felt nauseous or had diarrhoea in the last 48 hours.

Dr Chris Gordon, acting chief executive of Winchester and Eastleigh Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “It’s a testament to the hard work of all our staff that within 72 hours we are back to business as usual. Staff worked tirelessly through the night and pulled out all the stops to ensure that the trust continued to run smoothly during this extremely difficult time.”

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