Our hospitals are ready to tackle winter

With the start of Winter, hospitals across the Far West Local Health District have again boosted staff numbers and put in place additional measures for the busy period.

Steve Rodwell, Chief Executive of Far West Local Health District, said the winter months are a busy time for any hospital and our focus is always to ensure our patients are seen as quickly as possible.

“We have boosted our staff numbers for the season to help meet demand and ensure we’re covered if staff fall ill,” Mr Rodwell said.

The Broken Hill Health Service experienced a five per cent increase in demand in the 2017 Winter period compared to the preceding months. From June to September alone, more than 7,600 people presented to the BHHS Emergency Department.

Mr Rodwell reminded the community to visit their GP for treatment of less serious illnesses to ensure emergency departments are freed-up for emergencies.

The NSW Health system has implemented new systems to help staff keep on top of patient demand and to monitor and manage patient numbers.

“This new measure allows staff to monitor patterns of patient admissions so they can predict when they may need to open additional beds to help avoid delays,” Mr Rodwell said.

The NSW Government is spending a record $22.75 million on state-wide immunisation programs in 2017-18. This includes $3.5 million for free flu shots to children up to five years of age and a $1.75 million immunisation and influenza prevention campaign.

The District has been working with the Primary Health Network and Residential Aged Care Facilities to help them prepare and educate staff and patients about preventative measures to stay healthy during winter.

The FWLHD has strongly encouraged its own staff to get their flu shots and so far about 450 LHD staff have been vaccinated.

NSW Health has made the flu vaccine mandatory for staff who work in Intensive Care Units (ICUs) and cancer, transplant, neonatal and birth/labour wards in the state’s public health facilities, to protect our most vulnerable from the flu.

Annual vaccination is the best protection against the flu, but the following steps also help prevent the spread of influenza:

o   Cough and sneeze into your elbow

o   Clean your hands

o   Stay home when sick.

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