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Doctors are being flown into the Far North from interstate to help local health services cope with the region’s horror influenza season.

Two patients have died in the Cairns region from influenza since the start of the year and health professionals have been treating 40 new cases of the virus each week.

The latest figures from the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service show there have been 1893 notified cases of flu in the region between December 31 and July 7 – more than six times the average for this time of the year. Mobile GP service House Call Doctor has been treating a record number of families across Cairns.

The company says flu-related cases involving children across Cairns rose 25 per cent in the past week, with doctors reporting at least six families where everyone in the household was sick.

House Call Doctor chief executive Wayne Ormond said the company was rostering on as many extra doctors as possible to try to cope with the increased demand. He said the company, which began a nationwide recruitment drive last month, had also started flying doctors in from interstate to boost local resources.

“If you haven’t had your flu shot or had your children vaccinated, visit your GP,” he said.

“Children are heading back to school. The worst of the flu season is ahead of us and children – particularly younger children – are susceptible to potentially fatal complications.”

CHHHS executive director of Cairns services Tina Chinery said the service was working with expert clinicians on a clinical redesign to improve patient flow across Cairns Hospital.

“We have increased the number of permanent nursing staff for the emergency department,” she said.

“We are using additional staff in the hospital to ensure all shifts are adequately covered during peak demand.”

Original Source: Cairns Post | 16 July, 2019