Swine flu ward to open at hospital

A DEDICATED swine flu ward will open at Ipswich Hospital this week to help cope with a possible surge in demand for treatment.

Rebecca Lefort

A DEDICATED swine flu ward will open at Ipswich Hospital this week to help cope with a possible surge in demand for treatment.

Bramford Ward has been converted into a specialist flu-busting ward with isolated bays and expert staff on hand to tackle the pandemic.

So far the Heath Road hospital has had no patients admitted because of swine flu, but it is keen to prepare for a possible influx later this year.


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Suffolk experts have warned that the number of cases could continue to grow, with up to 100,000 people in the county contracting the illness.

Gwen Collins, the hospital's director of infection prevention and control, has been tasked with dealing with swine flu at the hospital.

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She said: “The ward will be staffed by a specialist team including colleagues with experience of infection control and respiratory medicine.

“We also have senior staff including infection control experts meeting every day to identify cases, anticipate any surges in cases and organise staffing levels.

“The national picture tells us to expect an increase in cases throughout August and we are doing everything possible to ensure we are prepared.

“The flu ward will give us a series of advantages, including reducing the risk of transmission, protecting existing infection control practices and rapidly identifying any increases.”

Bramford Ward was previously the hospital's private ward but was transferred to being an NHS ward earlier this year as part of the hospital's efforts to hit treatment time targets.

Stay away from A&E message for those with swine flu symptoms

IPSWICH Hospital is asking people with flu or cold symptoms not to visit its Emergency Department for treatment.

In line with national guidance for accident and emergency centres and GPs, clinicians are urging people not to put others at risk by coming to hospital for treatment.

Instead, people with symptoms are asked to contact the tailor-made National Pandemic Flu Service, online or over the phone.

The Department of Health's advice for people with flu symptoms is to stay at home and check their symptoms.

The service, at www.pandemicflu.direct.gov.uk, is a self-care service that will assess symptoms and provide an authorisation number to collect antiviral medication from a local collection point if needed. For those who do not have internet access, the same service can be accessed by telephone on 0800 1 513 100.

Those urged to call their GP direct are:

People with a serious underlying illness

Pregnant women

Those with a sick child under one year old

Those who think their condition has suddenly got much worse or is still getting worse after seven days, or five days for a child

Top tip hygiene messages for swine flu

Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing

Use a tissue when sneezing and disposing of dirty tissues promptly and carefully

Wash hands frequently with soap and water, particularly before eating

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