New rapid flu tests tipped to improve emergency response on the Gold Coast

NEW and improved technology that allows doctors to diagnose influenza more quickly will be rolled out at two of the largest hospitals on the Gold Coast, making future flu seasons easier to manage.

The State Government will spend $600,000 to introduce the rapid point-of-care testing system in 15 of the state’s largest public hosiptals next year, including at the Gold Coast Uni and Robina hospitals.

The new point-of-care tests screen for influenza A and B strains and can provide results within 30 minutes.


Minister for Health Cameron Dick said the testing was “very efficient” and would “greatly assist” hospitals with early diagnoses and the subsequent management of patients.

Gold Coast Public Health Staff Specialist Dr Paul Van Buynder said the new rapid testing would have multiple benefits for patients and the health service.

“This will enable us as clinicians to decrease transmission in hospital by putting those patients with influenza into a negative pressure room so that other patients are less likely to be infected,” Dr Van Buynder said.

“In aged care settings we will be able to respond rapidly to outbreaks by having a positive diagnosis a day earlier than we currently get it.”

Mr Dick said the Palaszczuk Government would also invest an additional $700,000 in automated blood culture machines to replace the current systems in 2018.

“These machines quickly detect infections that are spreading through the bloodstream,” he said.

“This improved technology will lead to more efficient and timely diagnosis and management of bacterial infections secondary to influenza.”