Date Published: 17 June 2009
NZ MoH points to its website for info Re. (H1N1) Swine Flu
The Ministry of Health has upgraded its website as the first port of call for people without symptoms of influenza wanting information about swine flu in New Zealand. This is part of a plan to support the increasing demand on Healthline and give New Zealanders the information they are seeking.
Information and health advice can be accessed through Healthline 0800 611 116, however the volume of calls being received by the call centre means there may be some delay in calls being answered. The Ministry of Health is boosting the capacity of the Healthline call centre to try to reduce waiting times and the Ministry apologises for delays experienced by some people. Callers to Healthline seeking flu informaton who do not have symptoms should take the "Press 1" option. They will hear recorded information about influenza A (H1N1) but can also opt to speak to an operator at any time. Those with symptoms should "Press 2" to speak to a registered nurse.
The Ministry is also moving on options to provide an additional telephone advice service for GPs.
New Zealand remains in the containment phase although planning is underway to move to a "manage it" phase when required. While the number of cases of the new influenza H1N1 is increasing in New Zealand, there are still relatively few cases and only isolated instances of community transmission.
Containment involves both border management (keep it out) and cluster control (stamp it out), but as more cases are confirmed in the community the focus will need to shift to boosting the way care is provided in the community. The decision on where best to direct the efforts of health professionals is reviewed daily.
Preventing, delaying and minimising the arrival of further cases of infection into New Zealand and controlling any cases or clusters that are found in New Zealand remains the current objective. This strategy is being kept under continual review.
Planning for the next phase is to enable community based health services to manage large numbers of people with influenza as well as maintain services for patients with other illnesses. An important part of this approach will include advising individuals how to look after themselves at home where this is possible - in the same way they would with seasonal flu.
Information for the public is being constantly revised and improved to ensure people have easy access to comprehensive advice about the new influenza.