Joint attack on flu season

KEY health sector players will meet with Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy on Monday in a bid to better combat one of state’s worst flu seasons. 

This comes as health experts are still unable to confirm if the peak of the season has been reached.

Primary health networks, doctors and pharmacists are also collaborating to support public hospital emergency departments and Ambulance Victoria to manage surging demand.

Private hospitals Cabrini in Malvern and the Epworth and St John of God hospitals in Geelong are taking public patients with the flu, who need to be taken to hospital by ambulance.

So far, there have been more than 13,000 confirmed cases of influenza in Victoria this year, in comparison to 7,365 at the same time last year.

An influx in patients with flu-like symptoms have been presenting to Ballarat Health Services Base Hospital and St John of God Ballarat Hospital with BHS juggling adult patients sharing space in the children’s ward and some elective surgeries put on hold due to full beds.

BHS, like other public health services, have embarked on an active social media campaign to encourage people with less urgent injuries and illness to visit their general practitioner, pharmacist (including the 24-hour UFS Supercare Pharmacy in Sturt Street near the hospital) or nurse-on-call. 

GPs are also encouraged to only send the most serious cases to hospital emergency departments.

Flu jabs are available. People are urged to wash hands to prevent the spread of germs and, if unwell, stay home to rest.