Flu fund­ing pro­vides ex­tra staff and beds

The Riverine Herald - - NEWS - By Ivy Wise

ECHUCA Re­gional Health will re­ceive $817,815 fol­low­ing one of its worst-ever flu sea­sons.

The spe­cial fund­ing sup­port pack­age is part of a Vic­to­rian Govern­ment $115 mil­lion fund­ing boost to give the state’s busy hos­pi­tals re­lief from a mas­sive surge in de­mand.

ERH chief ex­ec­u­tive Michael De­lahunty said the hos­pi­tal had ex­pe­ri­enced a record flu sea­son; 12 per cent up on the same time last year.

‘‘There is no doubt our ac­tiv­ity in the emer­gency de­part­ment has in­creased . . . and a lot re­lates to flu-type symp­toms,’’ he said.

‘‘It is a fac­tor with pre­sen­ta­tions and has also had an im­pact on staff with an in­crease in sick leave.’’

Mr De­lahunty said the fund­ing pack­age would al­low ERH to em­ploy ex­tra staff and open ex­tra beds.

‘‘We got through our peak pe­riod and the staff did an ex­cel­lent job so this fund­ing will help us to em­ploy ex­tra staff and we’re look­ing at open­ing an ex­tra four beds seven days a week,’’ he said.

Mem­ber for North­ern Vic­to­ria Mark Gepp said the fund­ing would sup­port lo­cal hos­pi­tals to en­sure a record number of pa­tients could get the care they needed from emer­gency de­part­ments faster, for the rest of the year.

‘‘Peo­ple wait­ing for elec­tive surgery will also ben­e­fit with more peo­ple than ever ex­pected to re­ceive surgery in 2017-18,’’ he said.

Mr Gepp said hos­pi­tals across Vic­to­ria had been feel­ing the pres­sure with more than 14,000 flu cases re­ported across the state this flu sea­son.

‘‘This money will be key to sup­port­ing our lo­cal hos­pi­tals to keep de­liv­er­ing the qual­ity care our pa­tients need,” he said.

He said over win­ter, there had been a surge in peo­ple vis­it­ing emer­gency de­part­ments.

‘‘Our ded­i­cated doc­tors, nurses, paramedics and other health­care work­ers have done a re­mark­able job in the face of un­prece­dented de­mand, en­sur­ing pa­tients are re­ceiv­ing the first-class care they de­serve,’’ Mr Gepp said.

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