Managing pandemic influenza in general practice

A guide for preparation, response and recovery
6.2 Roles and responsibilities
☰ Table of contents

Strong leadership and good governance are key requirements for effective preparedness.

6.2.1 National arrangements, organisations and committees

The Australian Government will provide leadership for overall pandemic coordination and communication efforts, and has the task of helping other public and private agencies and organisations by providing guidance, planning assumptions and making appropriate modifications to laws or regulations to enable an appropriate pandemic response.1

The government needs to collect information on suspected cases of pandemic influenza in a coordinated manner between federal, state, territory and local governments as well as coordinate appropriate public health responses according to their pandemic plans.

A comprehensive understanding of emergency planning and management processes is essential. To ensure this occurs, it is important to firstly understand the roles and responsibilities that the different agencies and organisations play.

Refer to:

  • Appendix 1 (page 37 of the PDF version) in Managing emergencies and pandemics in general practice: A guide for preparation, response and recovery


6.2.2 Pandemic coordinator

The first step in preparing for a pandemic is appointing a pandemic coordinator. This person should have a level of experience and knowledge that allows them to act on all practice activities related to pandemic planning. The pandemic coordinator could also be the infection prevention and control coordinator. Where possible, practices may consider appointing a deputy coordinator for back-up.

Key activities for the pandemic coordinator include:

  • reviewing relevant and current materials such as the RACGP’s Managing emergencies and pandemics in general practice and Infection prevention and control standards, as well AHMPPI, and the relevant state or territory pandemic plan
  • holding regular practice team meetings to discuss pandemic planning and management
  • developing a flexible plan for the management of pandemic influenza for the practice
  • identifying barriers to an effective response (eg. difficulties obtaining PPE and antivirals or lines of communication between practices and government health departments)
  • subscribing to and monitoring appropriate communication networks regarding Australian pandemic alerts (eg. the RACGP health alerts and the Department of Health website)
  • maintaining close contact with key stakeholders
  • communicating and coordinating with other healthcare and community organisations
  • obtaining regular advice from state and territory governments regarding the management of pandemics
  • maintaining the practice’s stock of PPE
  • providing the practice team with ongoing training regarding the plan, including mini-drills and ‘dry runs’.

The pandemic coordinator may not be the person who takes the lead during a pandemic (this role will be known as the pandemic leader; this is discussed in the response chapter).

  1. World Health Organization. Pandemic influenza risk management: WHO interim guidance. Geneva: WHO, 2013.