• Vol. 39 No. 4, 303–306
  • 15 April 2010

Attitudes of Patients, Visitors and Healthcare Workers at a Tertiary Hospital Towards Influenza A (H1N1) Response Measures



Introduction: We sought to determine the opinions of patients, their visitors and healthcare workers regarding Influenza A (H1N1) response measures instituted within a tertiary hospital in Singapore.

Materials and Methods: This questionnaire study was undertaken from 21 May 2009 to 31 August 2009.

Results: There were 92 respondents, ranging in age from 15 to 77 years. Of the 90 who identified their role, 35.6% were patients, 12.2% visitors and 52.2% health care professionals. About 23% of respondents disagreed that one could have H1N1 without fever or flu-like symptoms, while 14.3% thought influenza could not be caught from an asymptomatic infected person. About 30% perceived the H1N1 death rate as high. From this study, 82.2% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that Singapore’s H1N1 responses were essential, while 14.6% found it overdone. In particular, healthcare workers and doctors found their professional work to be inconvenienced. Although more than two-thirds of doctors held this view, an equal proportion agreed the outbreak response was essential.

Conclusions: There was a high level of acceptance of response measures as essential, despite the perceived inconvenience. We propose that the success of containment measures requires unity of purpose and understanding among stakeholders at all levels.

Following the announcement by the World Health Organization (WHO) that outbreaks of a novel influenza virus had occurred in Mexico and several parts of the United States of America,1 the Emergency Preparedness Teams of the Singapore General Hospital and its sister institutions on the Outram Campus were activated. Measures to reduce the likelihood of transmission within the hospital were instituted.

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