Warrnambool Base and Camperdown hospitals share in flu season funding

A BUSY flu season has put south-west hospitals under increased pressure.

Warrnambool Base and Camperdown hospitals saw an additional 662 patients in July and August.

While not all of those additional patients had influenza, it was a factor in the increase.

A similar story has played out at hospitals around the state, leading to the Andrews Government announcing on Wednesday a $115 million funding boost to help Victorian hospitals cope with the surge in demand following one of the state’s worst-ever flu seasons.

South West Healthcare will receive $1,270,431, Portland District Health has been given $217,582, Heywood Rural Health $100,374, and Moyne Health Services $59,658.

South West Healthcare chief executive Craig Fraser said the additional funding was welcome as it would help the Warrnambool Base and Camperdown hospitals deal with the increased demand.

“There’s been an unusually high number of people affected by influenza across our region this flu season,” Mr Fraser said.

“This increased demand, on top of other inpatient service pressures, has put sustained stress on our resources. 

“Between (Warrnambool Base and Camperdown) hospitals, an additional 662 patients were admitted in July and August.

“This is a 20 percent increase on the same period in 2016.”

There have been 114 laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza reported at Warrnambool Base and Camperdown hospitals this year – 96 incidences of influenza A and 18 of influenza B.

Fifty of those influenza A cases were recorded between June and August (32 in Warrnambool and 18 in Camperdown) while 11 of the 18 influenza B cases were recorded in winter (eight in Warrnambool and three in Camperdown).

The state government said there had been more than 14,000 flu cases reported across Victoria so far in 2017, leading to a surge in people visiting emergency departments over winter.

Statewide in August, more than 3,900 people visited emergency departments each day – the largest ever for August on record, a state government spokesperson said.

Member for Western Victoria Gayle Tierney said “every single (public hospital) has been working overtime so Victorians can continue to have access to the care they need, when they need it”.