Norovirus and flu outbreaks have led to ward closures at Kettering General Hospital this winter

Four wards at the hospital had to be closed at times between September and December in order to contain the infectious bugs leading to beds being out of action.

By Sarah Ward
Wednesday, 29th January 2020, 4:52 pm
Updated Wednesday, 29th January 2020, 4:52 pm
Four wards have had to be closed down at certain points this winter to stop the outbreak spreading.
Four wards have had to be closed down at certain points this winter to stop the outbreak spreading.

Four wards at Kettering General Hospital have been closed due to norovirus and flu outbreaks this autumn and winter for a period of 47 days.

Between September and December wards at the acute hospital were shut down in an effort to contain the bug outbreak.

A report which will be considered by the hospital board when it meets this Friday (Jan 31) says that Cranford, Tywell and Lamport and Naseby wards were all closed, with norovirus closing down Cranford ward for 12 days from September 30.

Altogether 36 patients tested positive for either norovirus or influenza.

The report says the flu outbreak happened earlier than usual in December rather than January.

According to the report only 68 per cent of staff have had the flu vaccine, which is under the 80 per cent target.

Kettering General Hospital’s Director of Nursing and Quality, Leanne Hackshall, said closing wards for such time was nothing new.

She said: “The incidence of ward closures at KGH this winter has been no higher than in previous years and is similar to that experienced by other hospitals.

“The decision to close a ward to new admissions is taken when we have more than two or three cases of an infectious condition across a ward area – such as influenza or norovirus – and is based upon Public Health England and internal guidance.

“If patients are affected in a specific bay area within a ward then that bay area is closed to new admissions.

“The number of bed days lost is the figure showing the number of days that beds were not open for new admissions – this winter we have not experienced any impact on our ability to effectively manage our capacity.

“During the winter period we identify additional beds (escalation beds) across the hospital that can be used at times of extreme pressure – and whilst beds have been closed to new admissions we have not utilised 100 per cent of this capacity.

“However Winter is a very busy time for hospitals like KGH and local people can help to reduce the risk of infections spreading in hospital.

“Please do not attend hospital – either as a patient or visitor – if you are suffering from a stomach bug or have a viral infection.

“Also if you are visiting hospital please remember to wash your hands before and after visiting patient areas.”