A CAMPAIGN is being launched to try to stop the potentially devastating winter vomiting bug norovirus running riot in hospital wards this winter.

The infection is extremely contagious and difficult to stop from spreading in densely packed places such as schools and hospitals.

Last winter Worcestershire Royal Hospital was more severely hit by norovirus than ever before, with frequent outbreaks placing huge strain on bed capacity and forcing the cancellation of hundreds of scheduled operations.

Hospital bosses are already putting extra measures in place to try to avoid a repeat this year and now chiefs at South Worcestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) have announced an initiative to give them a helping hand.

The “Drink not Drip” campaign is being targeted at care homes and aims to keep norovirus sufferers out of hospitals by ensuring potentially vulnerable older residents who catch the infection do not suffer from the effects of dehydration.

The scheme has been successfully trialled in three care homes and will be introduced to all providers across South Worcestershire.

Mari Gay, director of quality at South Worcestershire CCG, said: “The aim is to get people in care homes drinking regularly to avoid them having to go into hospital and be put on a drip.

“It has been trialled in three care homes and they have not had a single admission for dehydration and so it will be rolled out across all care homes before the end of December.”

The campaign will see extra education and training for staff, as well as advice and guidance for care homes on a daily basis when needed.

As previously reported, measures to stop norovirus at Worcestershire Royal include tighter restrictions on visiting, a crackdown on handwashing and the introduction of new wards where people suffering with the illness can be quarantined.