HEALTH chiefs are pleading with residents suffering a vomiting and diarrhoea virus to stay away from Wigan’s stretched A&E department.
Officials at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) and the borough’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said anyone with symptoms of the norovirus should stay at home to prevent giving the virus to staff and patients at Wigan Infirmary.
The hospital’s A&E department is currently extremely busy with patients, with staff hoping to reduce the number of admissions to prioritise giving care to those who need it most urgently.
The virus, which usually lasts between 36 and 48 hours, does not usually require medical intervention and sufferers are advised to stay hydrated and eat small quantities of food and water regularly.
WWL director of nursing Pauline Jones said: “We are asking members of the public to be sensible and not visit the hospital if you have any symptoms.
“This advice is being given in order to limit the risk of visiting relatives acquiring the diarrhoea and vomiting virus. Similarly any relatives who have symptoms of this sort should not visit their relatives as they could infect them.
“We need the public to think twice and make sure they choose the right service for minor illnesses, ailments and injuries.
“The public should only attend A&E if they have a serious health condition or in a genuine emergency.”
Doctors also said good hygiene is essential to slow down the spread of viruses, and urged people to remember to wash their hands thoroughly throughout the day.
The trust says Wiganers should only to visit A&E if they require urgent, emergency care or have a potentially life-threatening condition to try and reduce the burden on staff.
WWL is also reminding people who may need medical attention for minor conditions can get an appointment with a GP or the walk-in centre in Leigh.
The last outbreak of the virus in February forced two wards at Wigan Infirmary to close temporarily.
Sufferers with the diarrhoea and vomiting virus can also gain extra advice by contacting the out-of-hours service on 01942 829911 or ringing NHS111 on 111.