Help arrives to combat flu across city

EXTRA help is on the way to ease pressure on Ballarat Health Services in an unprecedented flu season.

Wendouree MP Sharon Knight announced a $2.3 million funding injection for BHS Base Hospital to help patients, particularly in those in the emergency department, get the care they need faster for the rest of the year.

BHS Base Hospital averaged an extra 20 patients daily though August, at the season’s peak, and patients presenting with flu-like symptoms have remained far higher than last year.

One in four patients were admitted to the hospital through the emergency department and BHS acute operations executive director Ben Kelly said the influx put extra pressure on wards.

“It’s been a very challenging winter across the state of Victoria and Ballarat’s no exception,” Mr Kelly said.

“It’s not just the impact illness has across the community. Our staff are members of the community and they too get unwell, but despite that and despite the challenges around the demands coming through the door we’ve continued to provide exceptional care to our community.”

Mr Kelly said the funds would allow more clinicians on had to make timely decisions, promote quicker transfer times for paramedics to get back on wards sooner and increase access to elective surgeries.

The hospital was forced to put elective surgeries on hold and adult patients in a section of the children’s ward early last month amid the height of flu season.

Sharon Knight

Sharon Knight

Wendouree MP Sharon Knight said it had been a terrible and devastating flu season and even the best staff needed help under pressure.

Funds are part of a $115 million state government relief to health services in one of Victoria’s worst flu seasons.

While the flu season peak is starting to ease, hospitals still urge people with less severe illness or injury to visit their general practitioner or a pharmacist (including the 24-hour UFS Supercare Pharmacy in Sturt Street) or nurse on call.