Summer Planning Toolkit modules

Module 1: Natural disasters and emergencies

Bushfires

Bushfires

As a result of climate change, bushfires in Australia are increasing in frequency, duration and intensity. They are no longer confined to particular seasons, and local conditions can drive dangerous bushfire activity at any time6.

General practices can be impacted by bushfires in the following ways:

  • risk of damage to physical practice infrastructure
  • risk to accessing medical care including general practices, hospitals and specialist clinics
  • risk of damage to clinical IT systems and patient records
  • risk to personal housing
  • risk to staff and patient health due to smoke inhalation, burns and mental health impacts
  • flow on effects of other general practices being impacted in the region.

The RACGP’s Bushfires in Australia fact sheet provides an overview of ways in which you can prepare and protect your physical practice as well as the community and lists tips on actions you can take in conjunction with relevant local organisations to help your practice and patients prepare.

Practices affected by natural disasters or emergencies may have significant infrastructure damage, which can impact your patient records management and ability to access specific equipment for the provision of safe care. The RACGP Standards has requirements for accredited practices to support patients during adverse events, particularly regarding the storage of patient records and privacy principles. If your practice is affected by a natural disaster or emergency, you may be eligible for an extension to your accreditation. Please see here for further information.

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