Media Release - 18/06/09
A larger Influenza Screening Clinic will open in Christchurch tomorrow (Friday 19 June) to cope with increasing numbers of people suspected of having Influenza A (H1N1).
The new Clinic will be located in St Asaph St and the current ones in Wairakei and Breezes Rds will be closed over the next couple of days.
People will not be seen without an appointment, and at this time, should call their General Practice for a referral.
“The reason the Screening Clinic has been extended is to try to keep the community as safe as possible, and to keep Influenza A (H1N1) out of our General Practices and pharmacies. It is important that people who are unwell with influenza symptoms don’t just turn up at a health facility, but call first,” Says Dr Phil Schroeder, who leads the Canterbury Primary Pandemic Group.
Nurses and doctors from General Practices, hospitals and Canterbury District Health Board’s Community and Public Health division, will continue to staff the Screening Clinic as part of a combined Canterbury health sector response to Influenza A (H1N1).
The Clinic will hold its first sessions on Friday 19 June but opening hours will vary depending on the number of people that need to be seen each day.
“People can expect to be seen for about 15 minutes, be assessed by a nurse or a doctor (or both) and be given advice on managing their illness. Some people may receive medication or a prescription and be asked to stay at home until they are well."
Staff in the Screening Clinic will be wearing masks to protect themselves from getting influenza.
Anyone referred to the Clinic will need to wait in their car if they arrive early for their appointment and follow the instructions of staff to prevent the possible spread of infection to staff and other patients, who may not have Influenza A (H1N1).
Only the patient and one support person will be able to enter the clinic. Other family members will need to wait at home or in the car.
People will be given general advice such as covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue, washing hands at the door and maintaining a one metre distance from other patients.
Dr Schroeder said, “as more people become sick with Influenza A (H1N1), the clinic will become a Flu Clinic (Community Based Assessment Centre) where more people will be assessed to see whether they need treatment.”
“Plenty of advice will be given about this when the time comes but in the meantime we are working alongside CDHB’s Community and Public Health team to identify people who have swine flu so that we can try and limit the spread of illness in our community.”
”Most people with influenza can safely look after themselves at home, resting and taking plenty of fluids and paracetamol .They should stay away from work, school, and other people. They should also phone, not visit, their General Practice if they are so unwell that they feel they need medical attention. For most people, Influenza A H1N1 is best cared for at home, with support from family and friends. “
Canterbury Medical Officer of Health Alistair Humphrey said, “Everyday we can restrict the spread of this bug before a vaccine is developed the better. While relatively few people will become so sick that they need hospital care, about 50 per cent of our population could become ill, if we don’t do everything we can to slow it down.”
For further information about influenza in Canterbury visit www.fluinfo.org.nz