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PHN report highlights support for Primary Care role in Disaster & Emergency Management

In recent years the Hunter, New England and Central Coast (HNECC) regions have been affected by multiple disaster and emergency events, including recurrent floods, severe weather, bushfire, heatwaves, drought, the pandemic and a mass casualty traffic accident.

The PHN recognises the critical role of primary care providers in responding to their community’s disaster response and recovery processes. During emergencies, the demand for healthcare services typically surges.

To ensure continuity of care, but also to safeguard their staff and business continuity during emergencies and disasters, it is vital that primary care providers are equipped to navigate the different stages of the disaster management cycle, including preparedness development, response, recovery, and planning and prevention efforts.

In 2022 the PHN introduced the role of Manager, Disaster and Emergency Coordination in recognition of the increasing demands placed on primary care providers by frequent disasters and emergency events. This aimed to ensure that those within the HNECC footprint gained access to modern evidence-based disaster management support and information that aligns with national and state policy and practice, and our unique local context.

The PHN has released a report Disaster and Emergency Management Achievement & Successes detailing the range of activities and resources developed and implemented by the PHN's Disaster Management Team during 2022-23.

The report also identifies the significant working collaborations developed with the region's Local Health Districts, local Councils and neighbouring PHNs in order to share learning, distil locally relevant information and advocate for the needs of the primary care sector across the region.

The Disaster Management Team was Instrumental in the development of the PHN's Summer Hazards Campaign that raised awareness of the heatwaves, drought, and increased bushfire risk expected to accompany this Summer season, and offered strategies on how to prepare for their impact.

The PHN will continue to develop tailored resources for provider preparedness and play an active role in the local disaster management community.

Besides promoting disaster preparedness, we are engaged in delivering provider support in the response phase during active events and to disaster affected providers and communities to recover from events through stakeholder liaison, grants, and community initiatives.

Visit our Disaster Management web page to see how the PHN is assisting primary care providers from the Hunter New England and Central Coast in all facets of ​the disaster management cycle.

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