A government whistleblower has spoken out about health insurers failing to follow protocol when rejecting claims.
A government whistleblower has spoken out about health insurers failing to follow protocol when rejecting claims.

CQ hospitals unfazed by flu season’s early arrival

HEALTH officials expect a challenging few months ahead as the rise of coronavirus ­coincides with the flu season's early arrival in Central Queensland.

House Call Doctor clinical director Dr Ryan Harvey said due to their similar symptoms officials would have their hands full in managing flu and coronavirus diagnosis'.

"It will make it challenging from health care and doctor's points of view because we will be needing to make decisions about diagnosing patients with the flu, the common cold or coronavirus and the symptoms can be virtually identical," Dr Harvey said.

"So, the only way of ­determining that is really through testing and this involves lots of people being tested and stretching health resources."

"Our hospitals often have a tendency to reach capacity during normal flu season, so with the flu season and the ­coronavirus pandemic, if and when that arrives in Australia, hospitals will no doubt be stretched to their limits."

Public Health director of Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service Dr Gulam Khandaker however does not share Harvey's apprehension and is confident in Central Queensland hospitals' ability to respond.

"A very small percentage of people with influenza become sick enough to require ­hospitalisation and Central Queensland hospitals are well equipped and resourced to ­respond to spikes in activity if and when needed," Dr Khandaker said.

Both men advised the best way to stay healthy in the coming months was to get vaccinated and maintain good hygiene.

According to Dr Harvey this year's flu vaccine should be available in the coming weeks.

"It usually comes out in March, so I'd say in the next week or two we'll get the influenza vaccine and people can start getting immunised," he said.


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