General practice in Australia is expected
to play a major role in responding to
an influenza pandemic. This study
investigated the experience of frontline
general practice during the H1N1
influenza pandemic of 2009.
Semi-structured interviews were
conducted with general practices in the
northern suburbs of Melbourne (Victoria)
in August and September 2009.
Purposive sampling chose practices with
high volumes of patient presentations
early in the pandemic. Interviews were
content transcribed at the time of
interview. Major themes were identified
through discussion with general practice
division personnel and academic
general practitioners in the field.
There was significant variability in
the pandemic experiences of the 10
Addressing issues identified in this study
could increase the capacity of general
practice to support the community
and public health measures during a
pandemic. Future planning for the role
of general practice in pandemics should
include pre-pandemic assessment of
practice capacity, review of public health
communication strategies and workforce
protection, and improved integration
of general practice and public health
Increased primary health care capacity is required when influenza-like illness (ILI) due to a novel virus of unknown virulence occurs in epidemic numbers in a community.1 In this situation, primary care potentially provides accessible health services, continuity of care, an available multiskilled workforce, and a triage mechanism for diversion of patients to the tertiary sector.2
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