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Flu and pregnancy clinic share same roof

The NSW Opposition has accused the state government of potentially harming pregnant women, by locating a swine flu clinic next door to an ante-natal unit at a Sydney hospital.


Nurses at Bankstown Hospital in Sydney’s west have spoken out about the location of the clinic, which has seen patients with swine flu symptoms sharing the same waiting rooms as pregnant women.

Opposition Leader Barry O’Farrell says the Bankstown hospital’s arrangements fly in the face of the government’s own swine flu advice concerning pregnant women, who are particularly susceptible to the virus.

Both the NSW and federal governments, and health authorities, have warned pregnant women to try to avoid public places, for fear they may contract the virulent influenza strain.

Only this week an unborn child in Queensland was killed by the virus, when a 36-week pregnant 19-year-old woman lost her unborn baby because of swine flu complications.

“Pregnant women, according to everyone from the health department to the government, are at greater risk of influenza generally and swine flu in particular given what is happening in their bodies,” Mr O’Farrell told Macquarie Radio yesterday.

“This is an absurdity and it flies in the face of all the warnings, all the alleged protocols that (Premier) Nathan Rees and (Health Minister) John Della Bosca say exist.

“What we want the state government to do is to say how many other hospitals are engaging in similar, unsafe and reckless at risk.”

Cricketers get flu scare

Meanwhile Australia’s Ashes stars suffered a swine flu scare after one of the journalists covering Ricky Ponting’s squad was diagnosed with symptoms similiar to the illness currently sweeping across England.

There have been an estimated 100,000 new cases of swine flu reported in England since last week and 840 patients are in hospital with the virus, so Cricket Australia were quick to act when News Limited reporter Ben Dorries found he may have been infected.

Dorries became ill during the second Ashes Test at Lord’s this week and a British doctor suggested during a telephone consultation that he could have swine flu, although that has not been officially confirmed.

He has been asked to stay away from the team for the next three days but Cricket Australia said that no member of the squad had shown any symptoms of swine flu.

Dorries has not been staying in the team’s hotel over the past 10 days and his main contact with players would have been at press conferences.

He was prescribed Tamiflu and has since remained in London while the Australians travelled to Northampton for this week’s tour match.

A statement issued by Cricket Australia said: “Australian team medical staff have asked that Ben quarantine himself away from the Australian team and other cricketing media for the next three days.

“These measures are being taken as a precautionary step. There is no indication that anybody associated with the Australian team has the same symptoms.”

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