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All patient visits suspended at Highlands' main hospital

By Gavin Musgrove

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NHS Highland has placed a temporary suspension on visiting at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness to help staff deal with cases of diarrhoea and vomiting.

Wards 5C and 6C were closed to new admissions last week due to several patients experiencing symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting.

Ward 7A was then closed to new admissions earlier today due to the sickness bug.

Norovirus has now been confirmed on all three wards.

Raigmore Hospital in Inverness
Raigmore Hospital in Inverness

The health board's infection prevention and control team are monitoring the situation and have placed a temporary suspension on all non-essential visiting across the hospital to prevent the spread of the virus.

Dr Adam Brown, NHS Highland’s consultant microbiologist said: “Staff across NHS Highland are working very hard to reduce the risk of these infections spreading further across the hospital and we continue to appeal for support from the public to help with this.

“We have now put in place a temporary suspension of visiting for all visitors for overall patient safety and to prevent further potential spread throughout the hospital.

"It will help us in respecting our patients’ privacy and dignity at a time when many are experiencing distressing symptoms and will also help in preventing the spread of norovirus to visitors.

“Exceptions will be made for patients receiving end of life care or for those who are critically ill.

"If you feel that visiting is essential please contact the ward first by phone before coming to the hospital. Please do not visit the ward unless by prior arrangement with the nurse in charge.”

Due to the nature of the symptoms being experienced the decision has also been made that anyone who has experienced symptoms of diarrhea and/or vomiting needs to be symptom free for a period of 72 hours before they can be considered clear.

Dr Brown added: “We are grateful for the support staff across all our hospitals in NHS Highland are receiving from the public at the moment and appreciate everyone’s understanding and co-operation at this time.”

NHS bosses have said the temporary suspension of visiting will be reviewed at the end of this week.

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