General practice disaster response

Australia is prone to a variety of natural disasters such as bushfires, floods, severe storms and heatwaves which can have a profound impact on the population’s health and wellbeing. GPs and practice teams play a critical role in responding to emergencies and should consider a business continuity plan in the event of a disaster.

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has developed the Managing emergencies in general practice guide to assist practices in preparing, responding and recovering during a disaster.

Tips for being prepared 

  • Develop an up-to-date emergency response plan for your practice.
  • Exercise your plan on a regular basis.
  • Contact other practices in your local area and agree on how you can offer mutual support.
  • Have a plan in place to send communications to patients about service disruptions or changes.

Refer to HealthPathways

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.

It is important to keep up-to-date during a disaster, as conditions can change suddenly. Some useful sites include:

In a disaster, GPs and other health professionals can be both the victim and the responder. If you have been impacted by a disaster, please take care of your own health. Should you need, don't hesitate to contact the following support services:

You can direct your patients to the following information, to help them be prepared in the event of natural disasters or if they have health concerns: