WIRRAL health chiefs are urging people to practice good hygiene after an outbreak of Norovirus saw the hospital a no-go for visitors for almost two weeks.

A visiting ban was imposed at Arrowe Park Hospital on March 23 and remained in place until Good Friday, when restrictions were relaxed.

Hospital bosses urged those suffering with symptoms to avoid attending the emergency department Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Trust – which operates Arrowe Park – said actually saw an increase in the number of people attending the emergency department with such symptoms.

Reducing the risk of infection is a majority priority for staff at the hospital, with bosses today issuing advice on practicing good hygiene.

When nasty sickness germs such as Norovirus are prevalent in the local community, it is always a race against time to try and prevent this highly contagious germ from entering places such as nursing homes, schools, and as we’ve seen recently in Arrowe Park.

Not only did the emergency department see a big increase in patients with sickness and diarrhoea, Norovirus also affected a number of patients on hospital wards. 

Jill Galvani, the trust’s lead for infection prevention and control, is spearheading a new campaign reminding visitors and patients to “Get into the habit when it comes to good hand hygiene.

She said: “Infections aren’t fussy about who they cling on to, so we all need to get into the habit of maintaining good hand hygiene.

“Keeping our hospital clean, safe and free of germs really is very simple. The ‘Get into the habit’ campaign acts as a gentle reminder that every time a person goes into or leaves any ward, they need to clean their hands with the alcohol gel we provide.

"If the person has visibly soiled hands then this needs to be soap and hot water first.

“This is the most important thing that anyone can do to help reduce the spread of infections and protect themselves and their loved ones.”

Advice on good hand hygiene: 

  • Adopting good hand hygiene plays a vital role in reducing the transfer of germs between one person and another.
  • If you were unlucky enough to have caught the Norovirus germ this year, you will know only too well how draining and poorly it is likely to have made you feel.
  • The virus will still be in the local community so make sure you wash your hands frequently with soap and hot water as many alcohol gels on the market do not protect you from this highly contagious germ.
  • The alcohol gel used at Arrowe Park Hospital and Clatterbridge Hospital does protect you from germs like Norovirus as it contains an anti‐viral agent inside it (as long as your skin shows no signs of being visibly soiled in which case you must use soap and hot water first).
  • Next time you visit a patient in hospital, or perhaps you are patient at the moment yourself receiving treatment, just remember to get into the habit. Keep it simple, keep it clean, and keep it safe. Every time you leave any ward, please clean your hands with the alcohol gel provided.