VISITING times at Basingstoke and North Hampshire hospital have "returned to normal" after being restricted following a previous norovirus outbreak.

As reported in the Gazette, Basingstoke hospital restricted visitors earlier this month after there was an increase in cases of the winter vomiting bug.

People wishing to visit family and relatives were only allowed between 6pm and 8pm since December 11.

However, Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust announced today on Twitter that hours have returned to normal, just in time for Christmas.

They said that visiting times will vary from ward to ward.

The incident at the town's hospital came just days before a number of people were taken ill at a Christmas market in Hartley Wintney with suspected norovirus.

Revellers took to Facebook to complain of their symptoms, at first thinking it was food poisoning.

However, after Hart District Council's Environmental Health team ran tests, they found that it was "most likely" norovirus.

Speaking last month, before the ward closures, Alex Whitfield, chief executive of Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “Norovirus is becoming prevalent in the community as we head into winter and we are seeing more patients with diarrhoea and vomiting symptoms needing to be treated in our hospitals.

“At present, we do not have any wards closed and there are no restrictions on visiting hours, but this is something that we review on a regular basis to make sure that we are taking all of the necessary precautions to avoid the spread of infection.

“To help us keep our patients safe, visitors are asked not to come into our hospitals if they have experienced sickness or diarrhoea in the last 48 hours.”