Corporate Information

Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust temporarily pauses visiting due to increase in patients with influenza

In response to an increase in the number of patients being admitted to the Countess of Chester Hospital with influenza, the Trust took the decision to temporarily pause visiting on Wednesday, January 24. Visiting restrictions were lifted on 2 February 2024. 

The Trust took this action because it saw a notable increase in the number of patients attending our Emergency Department (A&E) and testing positive for influenza.

This number had almost doubled in a week, and continued to increase, with around 15 positive flu cases identified each day from patients who had arrived and tested positive for the virus.

Due to the rise in cases, the Trust introduced visiting restrictions at Ellesmere Port Hospital, and in all adult acute inpatient areas on our Countess of Chester Hospital sites.

Exceptions to these restrictions applied to patients receiving end of life care and extremely vulnerable patients, who were risk assessed on an individual basis.

Visitors to the paediatric ward and neonatal unit were limited to parents only, with exceptions applied on an individual basis by the nurse in charge. Visiting the obstetric ward continued as normal.

On the day visiting restrictions were introduced, Sue Pemberton, Director of Nursing and Quality and Deputy Chief Executive Officer at the Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said:

"The high number of flu cases that have come through our doors is indicative of a high number of flu cases in the community. We are one of several Trusts in our region currently experiencing very high levels of demand, as the cold weather leads to rising levels of ill health.

"Preventing the spread of flu is a top priority for us, which is why imposing restricted visiting is the right thing to do to protect our patients.

“We know this will be frustrating for those wanting to see their loved ones, and I would like to reassure them that while this is a difficult decision for us to take, it is necessary because we must protect our patients.

"We will be frequently monitoring and reviewing the situation and will inform you of any further changes to visiting via our website and social media channels.”

Visiting restrictions were lifted on 2 February 2024.