State support to implement the online Emergency Response Planning Tool (ERPT)
The Victorian State Government, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is funding a program to provide fully subsidised access to the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) online emergency response planning tool (ERPT) for rural and regional Victorian general practices in2019.
DHHS recognises the important role of general practices in providing essential health services to local communities and understands that maintaining an up-to-date emergency response plan is crucial in ensuring continuity of service during emergency events.
In 2019 the program will focus on rural and regional general practices in recognition of the important services they provide and their heightened exposure to extreme weather and other events. The program was launched in January 2019 just ahead of the 10th anniversary of the 2009 Black Saturday firesin Victoria which claimed many lives and caused devastation across the state.
Each participating general practice will receive fully subsidised access to the ERPT in 2019 and support from Healthpoint ANZ to start planning and complete an emergency response plan. This includes online webinars,personalised training and access to a help desk.
Australia overall experiences a range of emergency events like 'natural disasters' including bushfires, floods,severe storms, earthquakes and landslides. These events cause great financial hardship for individuals and communities and can result in loss of life. There are also more localised events such as power outages, loss of systems, loss of premises or even intruders to think about.
“The RACGP is committed to supporting general practitioners. (GPs) and practice teams in delivering quality care to Australian patients. Recognising the vital role that GPs and general practice teams play in responding to emergencies, the RACGP has demonstrated its commitment to supporting its members by developing a range of resources relating to disaster, emergency and incident planning and management” (1). The ERPT is such a resource developed specifically to support general practice in Australia.
About the ERPT
The Emergency Response Planning Tool (ERPT) is an online tool which assists general practices in better preparing for, responding to and recovering from the impacts of emergencies and pandemics.
The ERPT is managed by Healthpoint ANZ and was developed in collaboration with the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP). In March the first cyber security module was included and this aligns to the `Information securityn general practice’ guideline developed by the RACGP in late 2018. This module is called `cyber incident response’ and identifies very practical things to do if a cyber incident occurs.
How does it work?
The crtical information entered into the ERPT is used to create an emergency response plan which is individually tailored to the practice, providing a roadmap to recovering from emergencies.
To ensure business continuity, the ERPT provides suggested contingency measures for staff so that, in the event of an emergency, they will know how to respond to:
· Identified risks
· a pandemic
· loss of power supply to the practice
· disruption to water and gas supplies
· disruption to telecommunications systems
· loss of IT systems or data
· loss of business records
· complete or partial loss of practice premises
· loss of medical supplies, equipment andfurniture
· loss or non–availability of key staff
· cyber incident response
RACGP Standards and Accreditation
The RACGP Standards for general practices (5th edition) require practices to have a contingency plan for adverse and unexpected events such as natural disasters, pandemic diseases or the sudden, unexpected absence of clinical staff. Completing the ERPT is one way that general practices can meet these standards which contribute to their overall accreditation.
(1) Managing emergencies in general practice,a guide for preparation, response and recovery- Updated June 2017
Provided and posted on behalf of HealthPoint