Priority for action: Disaster preparedness and response

The South Eastern region of NSW experienced prolonged drought followed by unprecedented, widespread and catastrophic bushfire damage from November 2019 through to March 2020. The fires were followed by the global COVID-19 pandemic. In response to these events, PHNs took on new responsibilities, ranging from supporting communities in their recovery from drought and bushfire trauma to helping coordinate the Commonwealth Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

PHNs and primary care have a crucial role in national, state and local disaster planning and preparation arrangements. General practice and ACCHOs must be supported as an essential service to ensure access to medical care during a natural disaster or a pandemic. In addition, COORDINARE must be prepared to support the sector to respond to disasters.

Our action

COORDINARE will develop an Action Plan: Disaster and Preparedness Response informed by the external evaluation of our response to the recent disasters. The plan will include five broad areas of focus: disaster planning, role clarification, relationships and partnerships, workforce wellbeing and resilience, and communication and information systems.