Managing pandemic influenza in general practice

A guide for preparation, response and recovery
7.2 Leadership and coordination
☰ Table of contents

7.2.1 Plan a meeting and review roles

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 depending on the practice size/plan, such as pandemic coordinator and/or communications coordinator should be clarified. All other staff should have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities.

Allocation of these roles will depend on the practice size and model. If it is a smaller practice, one person may be the pandemic leader and fulfil all ‘pandemic’ roles. 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 if possible.

7.2.2 Pandemic leader

The pandemic leader is responsible for the overall management of the practice’s pandemic response throughout the pandemic. This person needs a high level of skill, the ability to delegate and sound decision-making experience (eg. this person may be a senior GP clinician). The pandemic leader will provide direction regarding any modifications to day-to-day practice operations, staffing issues, and clinical policies and procedures with input from other team members. They will be responsible for making all final decisions.

The pandemic leader will need to identify where to obtain updated information and how this is communicated to relevant staff. They will work with state and territory health departments and other healthcare providers. Additionally the leader will provide local leadership in rational use of multi-sectoral resources.50

Depending on the size of the practice, the pandemic leader may also fulfil the role of the pandemic coordinator and communications coordinator.

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.
  1. Lee A, Chuh AA. Facing the threat of influenza pandemic – roles of and implications to general practitioners. BMC Public Health 2010;10:661.