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Flu outbreak affects hundreds since December: NHS under ‘severe’ pressure

Monday, 08 January, 2018
Flu outbreak affects hundreds since December: NHS under ‘severe’ pressure

Outbreak expected to get worse before it gets better adding to winter pressures on the NHS.

Flu arrives in force

NHS services in Northumberland and North Tyneside continue to be hit by a surge in flu cases. 279 patients have been treated for the virus since 1st December and there are 67 in hospital today (8th January) at sites across the area.

“Flu has added to what was already intense pressure,” said executive medical director Dr Jeremy Rushmer “The issue is that, in order to prevent it spreading we have to isolate patients who are infected – tying up beds and resources when we need all the flexibility we can get.

“Our staff have responded amazingly, but can only do so much as the virus is widespread within the community – notably in care homes.”

Prevention the key

Northumbria Healthcare is asking residents, especially those who may be vulnerable, to take common sense steps to lessen the chances of getting infected – and to prevent spreading it.

Anna Telfer – modern matron for acute paediatrics – said:

“If you are from an at risk group then we’d urge you to visit your GP to get vaccinated. Washing your hands carefully and regularly – especially around food or drink – helps too.  If you do develop flu like symptoms then you should consider treating it with paracetamol or ibuprofen – you can get more advice from your pharmacist.

“More than anything else it’s important you get lots of rest and stay hydrated. But please don’t visit hospital unless it’s essential.”

Visitor restrictions remain in force

Due to the on-going outbreak visitor restrictions remain in force across the trust. Some wards are closed to visitors entirely, for the rest the ‘two visitors, one hour only’ (14:00 – 15:00) rule still applies. More information can be viewed here and is updated every morning at approximately 11:00.

“We know it’s hard on families but these restrictions are in place for the safety of our patients, our staff and indeed for potential visitors,” continued Dr Rushmer

“We review it every ward daily and as soon as it’s safe to lift them – we will. Until then we ask for the continued understanding and support of the community.”

For more information on flu, how to avoid it and what to do if you get it please see here.

Media Contact:

Elliot Nichols – 0191 203 1512 or elliot.nichols@northumbria.nhs.uk


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