New technology that diagnoses the flu faster and more accurately is being rolled out with the first of 15 machines now installed at the Gold Coast University Hospital.
Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles said rapid point-of-care testing screens for influenza A and B strains and could provide results within 30 minutes.
“Last year’s flu season was horrendous. We saw more than 56,000 laboratory confirmed cases across Queensland, an increase from 23,000 the previous year,” Mr Miles said.
“Point-of-care testing will be rolled out to 15 hospital’s across the state by April.
“That means 21 of the states’ biggest hospitals will have this technology in place before flu season peaks.
“This testing is part of our $1.3 million investment in new tools to help us manage flu outbreaks more effectively.”
Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said rapid point-of-care testing would help clinicians respond to flu outbreaks.
“The testing is very efficient in confirming or ruling out flu in patients,” Dr Young said.
“This technology also enables hospitals to manage demand and prioritise patients, so those who require the most urgent care are receiving it.”
Mr Miles said the Palaszczuk Government was also tackling the flu wave head-on with free vaccinations for children under five.
“Up to 300,000 kids under five will be eligible for a free flu vaccine,” Mr Miles said.
“We urge people of all ages to get vaccinated, however younger children are particularly susceptible, as we saw last year when more than 580 kids under five years old were hospitalised due to flu.
“This free vaccine will be made available through GPs and other childhood immunisation providers.”
Rapid point-of-care testing will be in operation at:
- Gold Coast University Hospital
- Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital
- Townsville Hospital
- Rockhampton Hospital
- The Prince Charles Hospital
- Logan Hospital
- Redland Hospital
- Redcliffe Hospital
- Caboolture Hospital
- Mackay Base Hospital
- Bundaberg Hospital
- Hervey Bay Hospital
- Mount Isa Hospital and
- Robina Hospital.
Prior to this year, the testing was in place at The Princess Alexandra, Toowoomba, Cairns, Ipswich, Lady Cilento Children’s and Sunshine Coast University hospitals.
Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services
The Honourable Steven Miles