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Visitors banned at Herefordshire hospitals after Norovirus outbreak

Visitors have been told to stay away from hospitals in Herefordshire in order to stop the spread of the winter vomiting bug, Norovirus.

The virus spreads quickly in environments such as hospitals, schools and care homes Credit: ITV News Central

Wards have been closed and operations cancelled. The Wye Valley NHS Trust says half of beds are being used by patients infected with Norovirus.

The Trust says staff dealt with 20 per cent more patients than usual over the weekend.

Sharp rise in scarlet fever cases in the Midlands

Scarlet fever Credit: ITV News Central

Doctors are warning of a sharp rise in cases of scarlet fever this year.

Figures released by Public Health England say that in the East Midlands, there have been more than double the number of cases of the illness in the first six weeks of 2015, compared to last year.

Healthcare staff have seen almost double the number of cases in the West Midlands this year, compared to 2014.

Scarlet fever is highly contagious and symptoms include a sore throat, a fever, and a fine, sandpapery rash. Children are more likely to catch the illness than adults, so nurseries and schools have been put on high alert.

Scarlet fever is highly contagious and symptoms include a sore throat, a fever, and a fine, sandpapery rash Credit: ITV News Central

The first symptoms of scarlet fever include a sore throat and fever which may be accompanied by a headache, nausea and vomiting.

Between 12 to 48 hours after this, a characteristic fine, sandpapery rash develops, often appearing first on the chest or stomach.

Cases are more common in children, although adults of all ages can also develop scarlet fever.

As scarlet fever is highly contagious, anybody diagnosed with the illness should stay at home until at least 24 hours after the start of antibiotic treatment to avoid passing on the infection.

For families and friends caring for someone with scarlet fever, the risk of spread can be reduced through frequent hand washing and ensuring clothes, bedding, towels and cutlery are not shared between members of the household.

– DR THERESA LAMAGNI, PHE’S HEAD OF STREPTOCOCCAL INFECTION SURVEILLANCE

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Staffordshire hospital admissions cut through 'home care'

More than 10,000 people from North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent have avoided admission to hospital and are being cared for at home, with a new system which provides treatments outside of the ward.

More than 10,000 patients in the county now receive hospital care at home. Credit: David Jones/PA

The Hub, a clinical co-ordination telephone service run by Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Partnership NHS Trust, allows members of NHS staff to send patients to "care packages", which can allow for home based care supported by community nursing teams.

Since creation of The Hub in November 2013, a total of 10,761 people have received treatment at home, rather going into hospital.

Community NHS staff, GPs, West Midlands Ambulance staff and staff based at University Hospital of North Midlands (UHNM) can telephone The Hub. They speak directly to an advanced practitioner who assesses the most appropriate care package for an individual's needs and reefers the patient to the service.

"We are incredibly impressed with the number of patients who have been able to avoid going into hospital or have been able to go home more quickly, primarily because of the effectiveness of The Hub."

– Stuart Poynor Chief Executive of the Partnership Trust
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