Norovirus, sometimes known as winter vomiting disease, is highly infectious. It is a virus that is easily transmitted through contact with infected individuals.

Hospitals in Gloucestershire are supporting a countywide NHS campaign to help stop the spread of Norovirus. We want to protect vulnerable patients and support NHS services this winter, and are asking for your help.

We are asking members of the public to follow this advice throughout winter:

  • Do not visit healthcare facilities such as hospitals or nursing homes if you have had diarrhoea and/or vomiting until two days after symptoms have stopped (even if your symptoms were mild).
  • If you are a patient due to have a planned stay in hospital and you develop diarrhoea and/or vomiting just before your visit, please inform the ward / department to let them know. They can advise you whether it is safe for you to come into hospital.
  • Wash your hands frequently with warm water and soap. You should always do this after using the toilet and before preparing food. This is good practice whether or not you have symptoms.
  • Do not handle or prepare food for other people until you have been free of symptoms for a minimum of three days.
  • If you, or someone you care for, needs medical advice call NHS 111 or your GP surgery in the first instance.

The ‘Combat Norovirus’ campaign’s banners, posters and leaflets carry the key campaign messages and are on display at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, Cheltenham General Hospital, Community Hospitals and Stroud Maternity Unit.

Leaflets for relatives explaining how to protect vulnerable patients will be handed out by healthcare staff. The important campaign messages and useful information about Norovirus symptoms are available on NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group’s website here.

Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Director of Infection Prevention and Control Maggie Arnold said:

“People who are already ill, such as patients in hospital, can sometimes get quite poorly as Norovirus can interfere with the effectiveness of the medicines they are taking and also make them weak and dehydrated, which is why we are encouraging all our staff, patients and visitors to get behind this important campaign and help tackle the spread of Norovirus. Anyone visiting our hospitals will not fail to see the campaign messages – we just need every individual to take it to heart and help protect our vulnerable patients.”

Clinical Chair at NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group and local GP, Dr Andy Seymour, said:

“The campaign reinforces our shared responsibility to combat the spread of Norovirus in the interests of patients, staff, relatives and the NHS as a whole. We urge everyone to take heed of the important messages and act responsibly – it could make a real difference and could even save lives.”

Susan Field, Director of Nursing at Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust said “We will be working with our colleagues across the county to reinforce these key messages to prevent the spread of Norovirus to our patients and our staff.

It is very difficult to stop the spread of Norovirus once it is in a closed environment such as hospitals so we are asking the public to help support us by restricting visiting to what is absolutely necessary to protect t those most at risk.”