There has been substantial effort and activity in regards to pandemic
planning, preparedness and response, mainly in the realm of public
health. However, general practitioners and other primary care
providers are important players in the health response to a pandemic.
To discuss the importance of general practice preparedness for
managing respiratory infection outbreaks and to provide a model for
the general practice response.
Pandemic planning and preparedness in general practice is ultimately
a crucial risk management exercise, the cornerstone of which is sound
infection control. As planning will be significantly aided by, and should
extend to, other respiratory outbreaks, we propose a framework for
managing outbreaks of respiratory infections with a focus on planned,
practised and habitual infection control measures, and a stepwise
response according to the extent and severity of the outbreak.
Pandemic influenza (PI ) planning has been a priority for Australian health authorities since the 2003 SARS epidemic and subsequent overseas outbreaks of avian influenza. While this has been mainly in the realm of public health, South Australian PI planning has specifically engaged with general practitioners, recognising their significant role in the primary care response to a pandemic.1,2 However, GPs have considerations beyond simply being part of a public health response to a serious outbreak.
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