VISITING at the Countess of Chester Hospital and Ellesmere Port Hospital has been suspended due to an increase in the number patients with flu.

The pause in visiting to the sites was brought in yesterday (Wednesday, January 24).

The hospital trust is currently seeing a notable increase in the number of patients who are attending the Emergency Department (A&E) and testing positive for flu.

This number has almost doubled over the last week, and it continues to increase, with around 15 positive flu cases identified each day from patients who have arrived and tested positive for the virus.

The trust is currently caring for 41 patients with confirmed influenza, and they are currently being nursed in dedicated single rooms alongside others who have influenza.  

A spokesperson for the trust said: "Due to this rise in cases, The trust is doing all it can to protect patients from the risk of exposure to influenza, and avoid any further spread of flu; therefore, visiting restrictions will be put in place at Ellesmere Port Hospital, and in all adult acute inpatient areas on our Countess site from today.

"Exceptions to these restrictions apply to patients receiving end of life care and extremely vulnerable patients, who will be risk assessed on an individual basis.

"Visitors to the paediatric ward and neonatal unit are limited to parents only, with exceptions applied on an individual basis by the nurse in charge. Visiting the obstetric ward continues as normal."

Sue Pemberton, Acting Director of Nursing and Quality and Acting Assistant Chief Executive Officer at the Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: "The high number of flu cases that have come through our doors is indicative of a high number of flu cases in the community. We are one of several Trusts in our region currently experiencing very high levels of demand, as the cold weather leads to rising levels of ill health.


"Preventing the spread of flu is a top priority for us, which is why imposing restricted visiting is the right thing to do to protect our patients.

“We know this will be frustrating for those wanting to see their loved ones, and I would like to reassure them that while this is a difficult decision for us to take, it is necessary because we must protect our patients.

"We will be frequently monitoring and reviewing the situation and will inform you of any further changes to visiting via our website and social media channels.”