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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

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Winter sickness bug puts strain on north Cumbria's hospitals

Hospitals have been under increasing pressure from outbreaks of the winter vomiting bug norovirus.

Both West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven and the Cumberland Infirmary, Carlisle, have been affected since November, with the Carlisle hospital particularly hard hit.

The North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust, which runs both hospitals, heard at its board meeting that many beds were affected.

Acting nursing director Chris Platton said: “The trust has had a significant increase from November to date with cases of diarrhoea and vomiting and confirmed norovirus outbreaks.

“This has put increased pressure from an operation perspective on the trust’s bed capacity which has also seen increases in emergency admissions over this period.”

She said that as of Tuesday last week, 90 beds at the Cumberland Infirmary were affected while a further 16 could not be used. The figure now stands at 65 out of action, with a further eight which cannot be used.

“Nationally this has been a significant problem, ” she said. “We are monitoring [the local situation] and have done public awareness.”

Some planned operations had to be cancelled at both hospitals and it is likely that the trust will fail its quarterly target for A&E admissions.

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