ONLY one ward at Hinchingbrooke Hospital remains closed to new admissions and visitors, following a reduction in the number of patients showing symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting.  The current situation (Thursday) is that the hospital has 11 patients and

ONLY one ward at Hinchingbrooke Hospital remains closed to new admissions and visitors, following a reduction in the number of patients showing symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting.

The current situation (Thursday) is that the hospital has 11 patients and three staff affected by infective diarrhoea and/or vomiting.

Visitors can now see patients on Cedar, Walnut, Oak, Maple, Beech, Mulberry and Juniper wards, but they are restricted to two visitors per patient at any one time, children are not allowed to visit, visiting times are restricted to 7pm to 8pm daily, and visitors must wash their hands with soap and water when visiting wards.

Infection control measures mean that there will be no visiting to Lime ward without the prior permission of ward staff. The situation will be reviewed daily to assess when this ward can be reopened, the hospital said.

Hazel ward and the delivery suite are open, but visiting is restricted to partners only. The treatment centre and outpatients' appointments are not affected.

"We also continue to ask members of the public considering attending the accident and emergency department with symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting to contact NHS Direct, their GP or their GP's out-of-hours service in the first instance," a spokesman said.

Liz Pointing, director of nursing, midwifery and operations at Hinchingbrooke Health Care NHS Trust, said: "We are working closely with the strategic health authority, primary care trust and neighbouring hospitals to ensure that the outbreak is brought to a conclusion as quickly as possible.

"We thank the public for heeding our requests to stay away from affected wards while they were closed and we ask them to abide by our restrictions to limit their visiting to one hour a day.

"It is important to reiterate our advice that anyone with any symptoms of diarrhoea or vomiting in the previous 48 hours, or who has had close contact with anyone with such symptoms, should avoid coming to the hospital. Visitors can also help us with infection control by ensuring they wash their hands with soap and water when they come onto wards and by not sitting on hospital beds.

"All our staff are continuing to provide excellent patient care during this difficult time and thanks must go to them for actions to control this outbreak."

Patients with scheduled admissions should call 01480 416420 or 01480 363678 for further information.