GP Disaster Response
Our region is prone to a variety of natural emergencies, especially storms, bushfires, floods, windstorms, snowstorms and extended power supply issues. At times, this forces residents to evacuate their homes, and seek shelter and assistance at emergency evaluation centres.
In the face of this, general practices should consider a business continuity plan in the event of extreme weather conditions, such as fire, flood or extended power supply issues.
Tips for being prepared
- Develop an up-to-date emergency response plan for your practice. Your practice may want to consider using the Emergency Response Planning Tool that was developed in conjunction with the RACGP.
- Exercise your plan on a regular basis (eg.as a desk top exercise).
- Contact other practices in your local area and agree on how you can offer mutual support (eg. if your practice is affected by a fire or another emergency and needs to close, you can have a plan in place to direct your patients to a nearby practice until the risk has been averted)
- Have a plan in place to send communications to patients about service disruptions or changes
- Refer to HealthPathways: Preparing Patients for a disaster
- Refer to HealthPathways: Preparing a General Practice for a disaster
The most effective support you can provide during a time of disaster is to consider extending practice opening hours to accommodate an increase in patient demand.
Keep up-to-date with the situation
For more guidance for general practice on disaster preparedness, refer to the RACGP’s recently released guide on Managing Emergencies in General Practice: A Guide for Preparation, Response and Recovery.
The RACGP also offers the following resources
We have set up a register of GPs willing to assist in a disaster situation. These GPs would be contacted in the event of a disaster to provide medical assistance at a designated emergency evaculation centre.
In all disaster situations it is acknowledged that GPs are often members of the same community and can therefore be impacted at a personal level by the disaster. Expressed availability is therefore voluntary and continually assessed throughout the disaster/emergency situation.
The GP would medically assess people attending an evacuation location, on an as-needs basis, and may provide:
- Prescriptions for medications
- Basic first aid as needed
- Psychological first aid
- Referral to a GP practice or the nearest Hospital Emergency Department
- Referral of patients to other responders on site
- Brief written event summary of patients treated
What is provided?
- Pre-Emergency Information Pack
- A high-visibility tabard (vest) with ‘Doctor’ emblazoned on the back
- Resource Kit with basic clinical supplies at each location/evacuation centre. It is expected that GPs bring their own doctors bag and script pad
- Debriefing session at an appropriate time following the incident
I’m interested in volunteering, what next?
- Complete the online form below.
- You will receive a Pre-Emergency Information Pack with all the information and resources you need.
- In the event of a disaster, you may be contacted by the PHN to fill shifts at Emergency Evacuation Centre/s.
- Once at the Emergency Evacuation Centre, further direction will be provided.