Winter strategy launched in preparation for the flu season
Last night in Wagga Wagga a region-wide winter strategy was launched to address the increased demand on healthcare services in the winter months both in the community and in hospitals. The strategy is taking a wellness approach by improving vaccine uptake and supporting general practices to keep their most vulnerable patients well and reduce their likelihood of being hospitalised in winter.
Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network (MPHN) CEO Melissa Neal said that older people and those who are very young, pregnant or experience chronic health are especially vulnerable during the winter months and at a higher risk of developing complications from the flu.
“It’s important that we work closely with our local GPs and allied health professionals to support them in managing their patients..
“Vaccination is the best way to prevent the flu – not just for yourself but also for those around you,” Ms Neal said.
Dr Jodi Culbert said as a GP, she was looking forward to trying a new approach this year with the MPHN Winter Strategy.
“Traditionally people often wait to see us until they are ‘sick enough’ because they know winter is a busy time in our clinics and hospitals.
“The extra support from this program will enable us to identify our patients who are at higher risk of experiencing complications during the winter months and meet with them to develop a proactive plan while they are well. ,” Dr Culbert said.
“”The program will also resource us to stay in contact with these patients during the winter and facilitate an early appointment if we have any concerns or if they do become ill..
“Hopefully, this will help us ensure, as much as possible, that patients can be confident in having their care at home in their community rather than having the distress and disruption of having an urgent hospital admission,” Dr Culbert said.
Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD) CE Jill Ludford said that during the flu season there is a significant increase in the number of people that present to hospital emergency departments and this joint strategy across the acute and primary care settings will help address this.
“With the additional demand expected on our health services we’ve looked to optimising our patient flow between hospitals, improving coordination between ambulances, hospitals and primary care,” Ms Ludford said.