PERFORMANCE: Around one third of Worcestershire Royal Hospital’s 600 beds are closed to admissions due to increased cases of diarrhoea and vomiting.

All visitors are being asked to avoid coming to the hospital as cases of norovirus continue to put extreme pressure on the system.

Eight wards are now partially or fully closed due to increased cases of diarrhoea and vomiting.

As a result, all non-urgent elective operations are being postponed and patients given alternative dates, in a bid to ease some of the pressure.

Other measures in place to bring the situation under control include ambulances being diverted to other hospitals, and GPs are being asked to manage people outside of hospital wherever possible.

Penny Venables, chief executive of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust, said: “Whilst stringent infection prevention and control procedures are being implemented in all affected ward areas, it is very difficult to contain the spread of this extremely contagious illness. The situation is escalating and we are now having to increase the measures we are putting in place to ensure that the situation doesn’t worsen.

“Up until now we have had voluntary visiting restrictions in place, asking those who have had symptoms of vomiting and diarrhoea in the last 48 hours to keep away. We have now taken the unusual step of asking all visitors not to visit Worcestershire Royal Hospital while this situation continues, to help us protect both them and our patients. Of course, we will always consider sympathetically any exceptional requests from relatives who have a particular need to visit a patient in any of our wards. If this applies to you, please contact the matron or ward manager.

“Likewise, patients can do their bit to ensure the emergency department can focus on dealing with major illnesses and accidents by choosing the right health service for their need at the right time and using the GP out of hours service, minor injuries units or Worcester walk-in centre where possible.”