Response occurs at the onset of an emergency. The level of response is likely to vary during the pandemic. Initially, pandemic cases may be sporadic, whereas during a peak, general practices may be inundated with patients with pandemic influenza.
Practices should implement their response strategies just prior to and during the pandemic. The action(s) required will depend on the current pandemic stage as determined by the Australian Government. These four stages are aligned with the Department of Health’s AHMPPI:
Responding to a pandemic means activating the plans made in the preparedness phase – in a manner and to a degree appropriate for the severity and intensity of the outbreak.
The quality of planning will affect the ability to respond. Strategies for implementation of pandemic plans are considered effective if they:3
- are flexible
- include a range of pandemic preparedness approaches applicable to different situations
- include communication aspects and are transparent
- include advance stockpiling (eg for drugs and equipment).