More beds to see out winter for TTH
19 July 2018
The Townsville Hospital has expanded bed numbers by twelve this week to provide additional capacity for patients impacted by illnesses such as influenza known to occur more frequently over the winter months.
Townsville Hospital and Health Service chief executive Kieran Keyes said it was important to provide flexible capacity in a planned way to meet peaks in demand that often occur during the colder months.
“We know that around this time of year that respiratory illnesses such as influenza often hit the community,” he said.
“These additional beds allow us to respond to and treat patients who can be at risk of serious complications, such as the elderly or people with underlying health problems, when they contract the flu.
“This way we can look after those who need it, prevent them from getting worse and get them back home healthy and well.”
Townsville Hospital and Health Service Board Chair Tony Mooney said the beds provided an assurance to the community that the hospital was well equipped to cope with demand.
“The provision of these beds form part of our annual planning and it is always our priority to be well-prepared ahead of winter,” he said.
“These beds form part of significant work we undertook in preparing for this year’s Influenza season, including a major public awareness campaign about the importance of vaccination.
“This body of work has been supported by additional funding from the State Government which has expanded the free Influenza vaccine program to include children aged between six months and five years.
“Additionally, the Townsville Hospital this year received a rapid Influenza testing machine, funded by the State Government.
“We also spent $80,000 to overhaul the hand hygiene campaign at The Townsville Hospital to improve the community’s understanding of how important good hand hygiene is in preventing the spread of illnesses such as Influenza.”
Mr Keyes reminded the community that most healthy people could recover from the influenza with bed rest, while those who needed to see a doctor could see their general practitioner (GP).
“It is also important for people to get the influenza vaccine at a local GP,” he said.
Influenza vaccination is free to people most at risk which includes all children 6 months to less than 5 years, all adults 65 years and older, all pregnant women, all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 15 years and older, and all individuals 6 months and older with medical conditions predisposing them to severe influenza. These people can receive their vaccination from their GP.
There has been 619 cases of laboratory confirmed influenza in the Townsville Hospital and Health Service region so far this year.