HALFWAY HOUSE The Cottage Hospital has two wards with 26 beds

TONBRIDGE Cottage Hospital was forced to close one of its wards at the weekend over concerns about the spread of flu.

The 14-bed nursing ward was closed on Saturday (January 27) and reopened 48 hours later. The therapy ward was not affected.

The Cottage Hospital on Vauxhall Lane acts as a halfway house for patients coming out of hospital and those who require more care than can be provided in their homes but do not need to be admitted for acute treatment.

Rowena Chilvers, Deputy Head of Infection Prevention and Control for Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Patient safety is always our absolute priority. We closed Goldsmid ward after five patients became unwell on Saturday showing signs of respiratory illness.”

She added: “We acted swiftly, following national guidance, to isolate the five patients showing symptoms and they were swabbed to detect for signs of infection.

“One patient was confirmed as having influenza and two patients were diagnosed with respiratory syncytial virus. The other two patients tested negative for any viral infection.”

The ward reopened to admissions on Monday (January 29) and it was then ‘business as usual’.

Ms Chilvers praised the staff, saying: “The nursing team worked tirelessly to support all patients and stop any signs of infection in its tracks by completing an enhanced clean of the ward.”