Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has welcomed a report by world-renowned clinician Professor TH Pennington into outbreaks of flu and norovirus at its sites over the winter of 2017 and 2018.
Commissioned by the trust, it praised the response by trust staff and management and made a number of recommendations covering both short and long-term policy so it can be even better prepared in future.
In particular, it examined the outbreaks on wards four and five at Wansbeck General Hospital (WGH) to determine why outbreaks there were especially bad.
It also highlighted the ‘impressive’ work done by the infection control team.
Ellie Monkhouse, executive director of nursing at Northumbria Healthcare, said: “We fully welcome this report, in particular how it notes the fantastic response our staff made in difficult circumstances.
“The outbreaks this year were of an unprecedented level not seen before at Northumbria Healthcare and we are lucky that our new model of emergency care – with a specialist hospital and three general hospitals – allowed us to maintain patient flow even at the height of the outbreak.
“We are also investing in the three general hospitals so as to offer us even greater flexibility in future. For instance, if we need to isolate a patient.
“That said, we are not complacent and are determined to do everything we can to have more robust processes in place and to be better prepared in the future.”
The recommendations include ‘the provision of side rooms/bays with their own toilet facilities at WGH should be given high priority’, ‘consideration should be given to the development of site-specific outbreak control plans’ and ‘policies regarding staff movement between norovirus affected and unaffected areas should be reviewed’.