Capacity Boosted To Handle 2017 Winter Bed Hospital Demand

Capacity Boosted To Handle 2017 Winter Bed Hospital Demand

Queensland Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Cameron Dick

$15 Million Strategy To Boost Capacity During Winter Surge

Victor P Taffa

Palaszczuk Government’s $15 Million 2017 Winter Beds Strategy will boost Queensland’s public hospital capacity to help manage an expected winter surge in presentations.

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Cameron Dick said the winter beds strategy, now in its second year, would help arm the healthcare system for the annual challenges presented by winter.

“This $15 Million investment will go a long way towards decreasing the winter burden on our emergency departments and ensure that our ambulance services and emergency departments remain available for those who can’t avoid it.” Mr. Dick said.

“We know that winter is generally a time of increased presentations at our ED’s and often coincides with peak Influenza season and an increase in respiratory illnesses in Queensland.”

“7 key actions under the 2017 Winter Beds Strategy aim to assist Queensland’s public hospitals in meeting this increased demand.” Mr. Dick said.

7 actions of the $15 Million strategy will:

  1. Provide a significant investment into additional new capacity at the Mater, to support hospitals and health services most impacted by winter to implement additional targeted capacity management strategies;
  2. Provide access to an extra 90 beds to provide surge capacity in areas of high demand;
  3. Develop and enact Annual Patient Flow and Capacity Plans (including winter bed initiatives) in all HHS’s across Queensland;
  4. Provide funding for dedicated nursing resources to support patient flow in our busiest ED’s;
  5. Continue to utilise private sector capacity through the $20 Million Surgery Connect program;
  6. Continue a communication strategy and marketing plan to promote influenza vaccination for the general population and those individuals at an increased risk of complications as a result of influenza infection;
  7. Provide a quality improvement payment for staff influenza vaccination to improve voluntary influenza vaccination uptake amongst Hospital and Health Service staff.

“These 7 actions will assist Hospital and Health Services to better respond to the expected seasonal peak.” Mr. Dick said.

“We also need Queenslanders to do their bit to reduce the winter burden on our ED’s by better protecting themselves and their families from common winter ailments.”

“Each flu season can bring new strains of the potentially deadly influenza virus, which is why it’s so important for all Queenslanders to get vaccinated every year.” Mr. Dick said.

“Strains we vaccinate for in Australia are chosen depending on which strains are most prevalent in the northern hemisphere during their flu season. This year’s program will provide a quadrivalent vaccine that protects against two ‘A’ and two ‘B’ strains of influenza.”

“Queenslander’s eligible for the government-funded influenza vaccine can access it from their doctor or immunisation provider.” Mr. Dick said.

Those eligible for the funded vaccine are:

  • Pregnant women during any stage of pregnancy;
  • Persons 65 years of age or older;
  • Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children aged 6 months to 5 years;
  • Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people 15 years of age or older;
  • Persons 6 months of age or older who have certain medical conditions which increase the risk of influenza disease complications.

Minister Dick said all other Queenslanders could purchase the vaccine from their doctor, immunisation provider or local pharmacist.