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Tuesday, 22 January, 2002, 00:13 GMT
Hospital virus' impact spreads
Victoria Hospital
Victoria Hospital is closed to new admissions
Hundreds of operations have been cancelled at two Glasgow hospitals after one was struck by an outbreak of a viral infection.

Some 218 staff and patients at the Victoria Infirmary have been hit by the "winter vomiting" bug, which causes sickness and diarrhoea.

Almost 150 operations have been cancelled at the hospital on the city's south side since Friday.

The city's Southern General hospital has been taking patients from the Victoria Infirmary.

This virus is very, very common at time of year and it very often affects hospitals

BBC health correspondent Eleanor Bradford
This knock-on effect has led to the cancellation of more than 100 operations because there are not enough beds.

The South Glasgow University Hospitals NHS Trust has pledged to treat those who have suffered a cancellation as a priority and managers are discussing ways of rescheduling operations.

The Victoria Infirmary is still closed to new admissions because of the virus, which has affected 149 patients and 69 members of staff.

A further 35 patients at the hospital are showing symptoms.

The outbreak control team investigating the situation will tell management on Monday whether any more people have been affected and if the Victoria Infirmary can reopen.

A spokesman said it was simply not clear whether any more operations would be cancelled.

Hygiene issues

The hospital stopped admissions for surgery on Friday and operations were being cancelled for Monday and Tuesday.

However, out-patient and day care services are still running.

Health Minister Malcolm Chisholm has acknowledged there are particular problems at the hospital and has pledged national action to ensure hospitals tackle hygiene issues.

Malcolm Chisholm
Malcolm Chisholm has pledged national action
However, BBC Scotland health correspondent Eleanor Bradford explained that cleanliness was not an issue when it came to spreading the airborne infection.

"This virus is very, very common at time of year and it very often affects hospitals," she said.

"It is really something that is brought in by chance by a member of the public or by the staff and it can take hold of the whole hospital.

"When someone is ill, everyone in the room has an 80 or 90% chance of picking up the virus."

She said the numbers affected by the 48-hour virus at the Victoria Infirmary were levelling out and the hope was that they would soon start to fall.

Meanwhile, three wards at Stirling Royal Infirmary have been closed to admissions after an outbreak of sickness and diarrhoea which affected more than 35 patients and staff at its peak last week.

About six people are still affected by the virus and the hospital said it was satisfied that the situation was under control.

Eleanor Bradford reports
"There has been a lot of speculation over hygiene"
Health correspondent Eleanor Bradford
"The Southern General will be able to cope in the short-term"
See also:

21 Jan 02 | Scotland
Doctors 'cut corners' over hygiene
21 Jan 02 | Health
Controlling hospital infection
21 Jan 02 | Scotland
Virus-hit school may stay shut
20 Jan 02 | Scotland
Hospital virus cases rise
18 Jan 02 | Scotland
Action threat over bug death
17 Jan 02 | Scotland
Salmonella kills three in hospital
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