13 December 2023
Under The Microscope feature article

Owner and director of Macarthur General Practice, Dr Ken McCroary, and Alyssa Horgan from SWSPHN’s Disaster Response team, take a look through the guide.


Guidance to ensure general practices in South Western Sydney have up-to-date and tested disaster response plans in place to enable them to continue to care for patients during a disaster, is now available.

SWSPHN created the Practice Disaster Planning Guide which is available on our website as a PDF.

The guide is one of the initiatives we’ve developed in response to new PHN responsibilities to put measures in place to support community and general practice in particular, in times of disaster like bushfires and flood.

Another resource is the Your health matters in a disaster flyer. The flyer was created to provide our community with practical advice to ensure their health isn’t forgotten during a disaster, in addition to information about access to services.

It outlines five simple steps your patients can use to take control of their health during challenging and disrupted times. It is available as a webpage or a pdf.

The Practice Disaster Planning Guide contains important checklists on preparing your practice, patients and staff for a disaster, SWSPHN-subsidised training options for frontline staff, step-by-step instructions on what to do during a disaster, and a recovery checklist.

The guide also includes specific information for patients with chronic disease, mental health support options, and other resources to provide patients with information or support during a disaster.

SWSPHN Chief Executive Officer, Dr Keith McDonald PhD, said most general practice emergency planning guides focused on business continuity.

“While business continuity is really important, it is also essential we focus on how a disaster affects general practice staff and patients, and what can be done to better prepare and plan for emergency events,” he said.

“After undertaking research and consulting with disaster experts, we’ve added advice about caring for patients who have chronic conditions.”

The guide also shows where tasks align with RACGP accreditation standards, making it easier for practices to identify where and how standards have been met.

Dr McDonald said the guide had been created to adapt with how practices want to use it.

“Although tables have been created for ease of use, it’s editability means existing information such as contact lists or sections of policies and procedures can be cut and pasted so the guide is tailored to meet the needs of the practice without duplication,” he said.

You can arrange for our Disaster Response team to visit your office to help you initiate the plan by emailing alyssa.horgan@swsphn.com.au.

Additional resources:

Disaster management support for practices, including: