Managing pandemic influenza in general practice

Part C - Response

Leadership, reviewing roles and responsibilities

Last revised: 16 Dec 2019

A team meeting for the practice should be scheduled when a pandemic alert is announced (during the standby stage). At this meeting, the practice’s pandemic plan should be reviewed and the pandemic leader should be appointed/ verified. Appointment and/or verification of other roles such as pandemic coordinator and/or communications coordinator should be clarified. All other staff should have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities.

Where possible, it may be valuable to have back-up staff in case the leader or coordinator is unable to work.

The members of the pandemic team should have remote computer access to the practice network if possible.

Pandemic leader

The pandemic leader is responsible for the overall management of the practice’s pandemic response throughout the pandemic. This person should have sound decision-making and organisational skills and have the ability to delegate. The pandemic leader will provide direction regarding any modifications to day-to-day practice operations, staffing issues, and clinical policies and procedures. They may seek input from other team members but will be responsible for making all final decisions.

The pandemic leader will work with state and territory health departments and other healthcare providers. Additionally, the leader will provide local leadership regarding the use of resources across sectors.45

If the practice is small, the pandemic leader may also fulfil the role of the pandemic coordinator and communications coordinator. Conversely, larger practices may need to appoint a pandemic committee with a chairperson so that roles and responsibilities can be shared.

Key activities for the pandemic leader include:

  • providing support and advice to the pandemic coordinator during the development/revision of the practice’s pandemic plan
  • establishing and maintaining systems to collect surveillance data
  • overall management of staff safety, staffing and support
  • ensuring infection prevention and control measures have been implemented
  • activating triaging of patients
  • authorising modifications to the practice
  • facilitating post-pandemic review of response for staff.
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