Helping Hospitals Fight The Flu This Winter

The Andrews Labor Government has unveiled a new specialised ward at the Royal Melbourne Hospital to ensure more patients are treated faster during the busy winter period.

Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Health Jill Hennessy today unveiled 2 West – the $1.2 million new winter flex ward at the Royal Melbourne Hospital that will provide prompt care for patients with the flu.

A $50 million funding boost in the Victorian Budget 2018/19 is giving 17 of Victoria’s largest health services the extra funding to get ready for a busy winter so that flu patients get the treatment they need. The Royal Melbourne Hospital has received $3.3 million.

Last year, Victoria experienced one of the worst flu seasons on record, with more than 48,000 confirmed cases of influenza and a record number of people presenting to emergency departments each day.

The new 2 West ward will treat more than 1,100 patients during the winter period. It will accommodate patients requiring further tests to determine whether they should be admitted to general wards for further treatment or discharged for ongoing management by a GP.

The Royal Melbourne Hospital is taking a number of steps to meet increased winter demand, including opening new ICU beds, adding more doctors and nurses to the emergency department and conducting more pathology tests for patients with flu-like symptoms.

In another boost ahead of the busy winter season, the Labor Government is expanding Royal Melbourne’s Hospital in the Home program, giving up to 35 patients treatment and care at home. Under the program, patients receive their treatment at home, increasing the capacity of Victoria’s hospitals by 700 beds.

The Budget includes $1.2 billion in hospital upgrades and equipment to give our hard-working doctors, nurses and paramedics the world-class facilities they need to keep saving lives.

That’s in stark contrast to Malcolm Turnbull, who continues to hold funding for Victorian hospitals hostage, with a proposed agreement that would see Victoria short-changed by $2.1 billion over the five-year agreement.

Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews

“We’re taking action to ensure that if another horror flu season takes hold this winter, our hard-working doctors and nurses will be ready to treat patients faster.”

“The new ward at Royal Melbourne Hospital will see patients presenting with flu-like symptoms assessed and treated faster – and take the pressure off the busy emergency department.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jill Hennessy

“Last year, our doctors and nurses did a terrific job keeping up with unprecedented demand. This year we’re ensuring they’re ready to do what they do best – provide world-class care for all Victorians.”