A&E departments all over the country are bracing themselves for the fast-approaching winter season after a superflu in Australia has crippled their health services.
Every year flu outbreaks lead to long-term bed-blocking and severe delays in patients being seen by medical staff. These factors partnered with a new strain of flu could be a serious issue for the NHS and one that could potentially be the straw that broke the camels back.
Strood GP, Dr Julian Spinks said, “This year we have major concerns about the potential for a very bad flu outbreak. The UK tends to follow places like Australia and New Zealand a few months later because they have already had their winter.
“This year they’ve had a particularly bad flu strain which has put enormous pressure on their health services. If you put that into the UK which has an already struggling NHS, we may have a situation where it won’t be able to cope any longer.”
The NHS offers its entire staff a free flu jab; this is to prevent long-term absences over the coming winter months and cross-contamination on wards. This had meant that hospitals, like Medway Maritime have had to prepare early for the potential impact this flu strain could have on their services this coming winter.
General medicine consultant Dr. Mohamed Saleh said, “For the winter we have already taken critical measures in increasing our numbers of staff, secondly we have implemented a new policy which concentrates on liaising with the community directly. So rather than coming straight to hospital, patients will seek their local pharmacist, GP and 111 service first.”