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GP expertise recognised as governments plan for the worst

A couple of editions ago, I wrote about the AMA’s work in advocating for a more considered and active role for GPs in emergency planning and response measures. With summer just around the corner, and the fire and storm season upon us, emergency planners across all levels of government will be busy preparing strategies to minimise the impact of any natural disasters.

02 Nov 2012

A couple of editions ago, I wrote about the AMA’s work in advocating for a more considered and active role for GPs in emergency planning and response measures.

With summer just around the corner, and the fire and storm season upon us, emergency planners across all levels of government will be busy preparing strategies to minimise the impact of any natural disasters.

At the same time they will be planning for appropriate responses when disaster does strike.

To help with this planning, the AMA recently released two Position Statements:

At the time of my last article on GPs and emergency planning, copies of the AMA Position Statements were being forwarded to the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments with a letter asking health and emergency planners in all jurisdictions to use the Position Statements as a basis for thinking about how GPs can be more actively engaged in the planning process and incorporated in emergency response measures.

Sometimes the AMA’s advocacy work on behalf of doctors goes under the radar as we constantly chip away at issues and don’t take enough stock of the advocacy wins we achieve.

Sometimes, unless there is a big announcement in the press about a decision called for by the AMA, the fruit of our advocacy can be unnoticed. 

I am pleased to say, however, that all the committee meetings we attend, all the submissions we submit to government and all the correspondence we write does indeed have an impact, and justifies the hours of policy work we do on behalf of Australia’s medical profession.

The AMA’s policy work in promoting the role of GPs in emergency planning has already borne fruit.

In a response to our Position Papers on this topic, the Commonwealth’s Chief Medical Officer has written to the AMA advising that the two Position Statements will be discussed at the National Health Emergency Management Standing Committee (NHEMS), whose membership encompasses Australian, State and Territory health emergency managers and experts involved in developing the health aspects of disaster plans in their jurisdictions.

The Chief Medical Officer has asked NHEMS to discuss how to better involve GPs in State and Territory, as well as national level, emergency planning and responses.

I am sure you will agree – this a good outcome for our advocacy in this area.


Published: 02 Nov 2012