Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 11 Hansard (16 November) . . Page.. 3591..
MS GALLAGHER (continuing):
outbreak at the facility. The outbreak appeared to commence around 10 October 2006. I am advised that the outbreak is probably due to an influenza virus. On 1 November immunisation against influenza was promoted to residents and staff at Jindalee. Other infection control measures have also been implemented. These include attention to hygiene-for example, washing hands regularly-and limiting social interaction between residents, between residents and their families, and keeping the sick away from the well.
Currently, I am advised that as of 16 November there have been 56 cases of flu at the institution, including seven members of staff. Tragically, we have also had six deaths, the most recent occurring overnight when sadly a 90-year-old man passed away. Given the continuing nature of the outbreak and the importance of preventing spread to other institutions, from today patients and staff at the Jindalee nursing home will be offered antiviral therapy. This is in addition to immunisation, which has been promoted and offered from the outset. Health authorities are taking this action to stop the further spread of the illness. The antiviral, Tamiflu, is being used in this instance because it is known to be effective in the treatment and prevention of some strains of influenza. Administration of this began this morning at 7.30 am. It is important that patients and staff, and indeed people in the general community, maintain their immunisation against influenza to minimise their chances of contracting such an illness.
The outbreak has been notified through the Communicable Diseases Network Australia, a national network of communicable disease experts, eight days ago to ensure inter-jurisdictional cooperation. We are also seeking the ongoing commonwealth expert input and liaison through this network to ensure that all possible steps are being taken to control this outbreak.
I am advised that an outbreak of influenza in an institution has not been documented in the ACT for many years. ACT Health infectious disease and respiratory disease physicians have therefore been consulted on the management strategy. General practitioners in the ACT region and other doctors are being kept informed of developments, as high vigilance is required to avoid other influenza outbreaks from occurring. This will require a fuller diagnostic workup of patients with respiratory illness in other nursing homes than is usual at this time of year, in addition to activities at Jindalee.
The management and staff of Jindalee have been responsible, cooperative and highly professional in their management of the outbreak so far. I will continue to update the Assembly and the wider community if there are any further developments.
Hospitals-patient administration system
MR SMYTH: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, in April 2005, your government entered into a contract for the supply of a new patient administration system. The contract is valued at nearly $7 million and will run until April 2010. The new system has now been operational for a number of months. Minister, is all the functionality that was specified for the new patient administration system performing as required by the contract? Is the new system meeting the needs of patients and staff?