A WINTER vomiting bug has hit Lewisham Hospital and many visitors are being kept away to protect patients.

An outbreak of norovirus – with symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting - has led to the temporary closure of many areas of the hospital for visitors.

Exceptions to this include the General Medical and Surgical Wards - where people can visit patients who are very unwell at the discretion of the nurse in charge.

Immediate family may also visit those in ICU, HDU and CCU, children’s parents can visit Children’s Wards and NICU, and in the maternity ward the mother’s partner or other named support person can attend.

Director of Operations and Nursing, Claire Champion said: “The safety and well-being of our patients is always our top priority.

"We recognise the value of visiting to our patients and this step has not been taken lightly; however we believe these measures are essential to ensure we protect our patients, visitors and staff from this very contagious winter bug."

She went on to say the restrictions came into effect today [Dec 17] and will be lifted when it is considered safe to do so for patients.

Ms Champion added: "We understand that this may not be popular with some members of the public but we are asking for your understanding as we take this measure to protect all of our patients.”

Visitors are reminded that the winter vomiting bug leaves people infectious for at least 48 hours and anyone who has suffered diarrhoea or vomiting should not visit under any circumstances.