Generally, if the practice does not have a designated communication coordinator, the pandemic leader and/or pandemic coordinator will implement the practice’s pandemic communication plan.
Ensure open, mutual communication between the practice team and patients, other staff, state and territory health departments, hospitals, local services (eg pharmacies), local council, laboratory networks, suppliers, and community services.
The practice can receive information through a variety of channels such as fax, email, web portals, SMS and radio announcements.50
The communication or pandemic coordinator should gather information regularly relating to:
- key public health messages and advice
- pandemic case definition and how to identify pandemic influenza
- what services patients should access from the practice
- what other services are available (eg flu clinics, fever and vaccination centres)
- home quarantine, including how patients should monitor themselves and how they will be supported during this process.
The pandemic/communication coordinator should relay relevant information to:
- the pandemic leader so that protocols can be revised to ensure best practice (eg modifying PPE protocols based on up-to-date information on transmission)
- the practice team and patients through a variety of pre-arranged channels (eg meetings, notice boards, practice website, SMS, email campaigns, phone calls)
- the community partners and networks.
General practices should aim to be a resource for the community – providing essential information about how people can stay well and what they should do if they are unwell.45 Aim to provide clear and accurate factual information as early as possible to avoid fear and anxiety, rumours and misinformation. Providing frequent and concise advice maximises the value and usability of the information.50