A general hospital in Somerset has temporarily stopped accepting new patients in an attempt to stop the spread of Covid-19 on site.
Weston general hospital in Weston-super-Mare stopped taking admissions, including into its A&E department, from 8am on Monday “to maintain patient and staff safety”.
The decision was a “clinically led” one that had been taken at a time when the hospital had a high number of patients with coronavirus, according to a statement.
The hospital provides clinical services to residents in north Somerset – a population of about 212,000 people.
The hospital had experienced a “spike” in infections and was being closed to new patients so a deep clean could take place, according to John Penrose, the MP for Weston-super-Mare, who tweeted that he had spoken to local health chiefs.
University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS foundation trust said the measure was precautionary and the situation would be kept under review.
The trust said there were arrangements in place for new patients to access treatment and care “in other appropriate healthcare settings in the area should they need it”.
Dr William Oldfield, a medical director at the trust, said: “As with any hospital, the number of patients with Covid-19 will frequently change as people are admitted and discharged. We currently have a high number of patients with Covid-19 in Weston general hospital.
“While the vast majority will have come into the hospital with Covid-19, as an extra precaution we have taken the proactive step to temporarily stop accepting new patients to maintain patient and staff safety.
“This is a clinically led decision and we are being supported by our system partners to ensure that new patients receive the care and treatment they need in the appropriate setting, and we are continuing to provide high-quality care to existing patients who are being treated in the hospital.
“We have a robust coronavirus testing programme in place for patients and staff to identify cases quickly, with appropriate measures taken by clinical teams as required. We will keep the situation under constant review.”
The public are being directed to alternatives including out-of-hours GP services, pharmacies, NHS 111 and smaller NHS units dealing with minor injuries.