Four hospitals in Bendigo region to share in $115 million flu funding

Central Victorian hospitals will receive a share in $115 million to combat an increase in flu diagnoses, the state government has said. 

Bendigo East and West MPs Jacinta Allan and Maree Edwards announced today hospitals in Bendigo, Castlemaine and Maldon will benefit from the emergency funding.

The Dingee Bush Nursing Centre will also receive part of the cash injection. 

In Victoria, 120 people have died from influenza this year, with 116 of those residents of aged care facilities. 

More than 14,000 flu cases were reported in the state, double the figure from 2016. 

The surge meant more people were seeking medical attention at hospitals; about 3,900 people visited emergency departments in last month, a record for the month of August.

A statement from the office of health minister Jill Hennessy said the funding would “support local hospitals to ensure a record number of patients can get the care they need from emergency departments faster, for the remainder of the year”.

She did, not however, back calls for a free flu injection. 

The health minister also urged patients with less severe illnesses to contact their family doctor, a pharmacist or a nurse-on-call service, so pressure on emergency departments could be alleviated. 

Ms Edwards said the funding would be welcomed by hospital workers caring for the sick.  

“Hospitals across Victoria, including here in the local region have been feeling the pressure this flu season,” she said.