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‘Rapid flu test’ rolled out at NSW public hospitals logo 24/07/2017 9NEWS
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian makes an announcement. © AAP Image/Keri Megelus NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian makes an announcement.

A new "rapid flu test" has been rolled out in public hospitals across New South Wales, giving a result within the hour and potentially saving lives.

Developed by Westmead's NSW Health Pathology Lab, the swab test is aimed at pregnant, immunosuppressed, or chronically ill people.

Instead of having to wait days for results, vulnerable patients will know if they have the infection within an hour.

Professor Dominic Dwyer from the University of Sydney said the test was potentially “life-saving”.

“The drugs that are available for influenza really need to be given within 48 hours of the onset of the illness, so if you have to wait that long for a result you've missed the chance to get the useful drugs onboard,” Professor Dwyer told 9NEWS.

He added that the test allows for the right medication to be prescribed, instead of unnecessary drugs such as antibiotics which “have no value in a viral infection”.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian described the innovation as a “major breakthrough” that could transform the way flu is treated in the state.

“Having real-time diagnostic testing in our public hospitals will help save time, resources and lives,” Ms Berejiklian said in a statement.

Rapid flu testing is now available at NSW Health Pathology labs at the following 23 public hospitals:

Armidale, Bega, Blacktown, Bowral, Coffs Harbour, Concord, Dubbo, Gosford, Griffith, Kogarah, Lismore, Liverpool, Nepean, Orange, Prince of Wales Randwick, Royal Prince Alfred, Royal Norfh Shore, Tamworth, Taree, Tweed, Wagga Wagga, Westmead and Wollongong.

 Video provided by AAP 

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