STOKE Mandeville Hospital is once more asking visitors to stay away this weekend in a bid to curb the spread of the norovirus winter sickness bug.

It has asked anyone planning to visit the hospital to call ahead before making ajourney to confirm whether they will be allowed in the ward in question.

A statement issued by the hospital today said: “We will try to contact a patient’s next of kin to inform them of these restrictions in advance, but if you are unsure please check before visiting by calling the appropriate ward.

“In exceptional circumstances we may permit a visitor attending a ward providing they contact that ward in advance.

“Norovirus is also known as the ‘winter vomiting bug’ and is commonplace within the community at this time of year. Symptoms include diarrhoea and vomiting and can be passed from person to person. 

“If you're visiting our hospitals please help us to reduce the risk of norovirus infections by ensuring you stay away if you have had these symptoms in the last 48 hours, or have been in contact with someone who has. Visitors can also help by ensuring they wash their hands well with soap and water.

“If you are a patient due to come into hospital and have not had these symptoms in the last 48 hours there should be no need to change your arrangements. However, if you have suffered from these symptoms in the last 48 hours please contact the ward or department you are due to attend to rearrange your appointment or inpatient stay, if necessary. Our staff will advise you.

“Medical advice for those with norovirus is to rest at home, avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of fluids and eat foods such as rice, soup, pasta or bread, which are easy to digest.”

For general advice on norovirus from NHS Direct click here.

The trust has also created a video showing how patients and visitors can help reduce the risk of passing on infections in hospitals by proper handwashing. To view it, click here.