YOUNG children are unable to visit either of Carlisle and Whitehaven's hospitals, following concerns over flu.

The trust which runs the Cumberland Infirmary and West Cumberland Hospital have introduced strict visitor restrictions following a rise in the number of viral infections and flu.

A spokeswoman for North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust said: "This is not a decision that has been taken lightly and the restrictions have been put in place to ensure the safety of our patients, staff and visitors."

New restrictions include:

*No visiting children under-12;

*Visiting outside of normal visiting hours is strictly prohibited;

*Only one visitor per patient is permitted in the emergency department or ambulatory care at any time;

*On all wards no more than two visitors per patient at any time;

*Strict hand-washing guidance must be followed when visiting wards.

If you wish to visit a patient in receipt of palliative/ end of life care you may continue to visit as normal but are urged to contact the ward before you travel.

The trust spokeswoman added: "We know not being able to visit your loved ones when they are unwell is difficult and we are doing everything we can to allow as much access as possible.

"Patient appointments, procedures and surgeries are unaffected and are continuing as normal.

"Please do not visit any hospital if you have been unwell in the last 48 hours."