A new surveillance system for outbreaks of norovirus in English hospitals, the hospital norovirus outbreak reporting system (HNORS), was launched in January 2009. On site investigators were enabled to enter data on outbreaks of norovirus directly onto a tailored system via an Internet-based front end. A standard dataset was designed to collect information describing the key epidemiological characteristics of each outbreak. In the period 1992-2008, 1817 suspected and confirmed outbreaks of norovirus in English hospitals were reported to national surveillance. After introduction of the new system there were 3980 reports of outbreaks of suspected and confirmed norovirus received in the years 2009-2011. Data from the new reporting system demonstrates that transmission of norovirus levies a heavy burden on English hospitals. On average, reported outbreaks are associated with 13,000 patients and 3400 staff becoming ill, 8900 days of ward closure and the loss of over 15,500 bed-days annually.