Breadcrumbs

Planning for an influenza pandemic

As outlined in the South Australian Emergency Management Act 2004, SA Health is the Hazard Leader for human disease and control agency for human epidemics, food and waterborne diseases.

The Public Health Act 2011 also provides legislative and administrative powers in the event of a human disease outbreak.

Pandemic Influenza Plan

The Pandemic Influenza Plan 2015 (PDF 234KB) provides a strategic outline of the South Australian Government and SA Health’s response to an influenza pandemic in Australia and describes the high level decisions and broad approach the South Australian Government and health sector will take to respond to the pandemic. The aim of the plan is to minimise the consequences of an influenza pandemic on the South Australian health system, community and economy.

The plan provides the platform to manage a disease outbreak but allows for flexibility in its application according to the severity and transmissibility of the particular disease outbreak. Its intention is to inform health care workers, government agencies and the community and contains a series of sub plans relating to specific topic areas and is consistent with the Australian Government’s Australian Health Management Plan for Pandemic Influenza 2014 (AHMPPI).

Pandemic influenza sub plans

Pandemic influenza sub plans include: 

All pandemic influenza sub plans can be accessed below or by contacting the Emergency Management Unit, SA Health by:

Aboriginal health

The Aboriginal Health sub plan is developed under the auspices of the South Australian Aboriginal Health Partnership (SAAHP). SAAHP provides the coordination, support and secretariat for the Pandemic Influenza Indigenous Sub-committee comprising key stakeholders and representatives of State Government departments. The plan supplements the Primary Care Management sub plan, while acknowledging the particular needs of the Aboriginal population and the medical services which provide health care to them.

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Antiviral distribution

Pending the availability of vaccines, antiviral drugs may be useful for treatment or prophylaxis (prevention of illness) purposes. The Antiviral Distribution sub plan (PDF 268KB) provides information on antiviral agents proposed for pre-exposure and post-exposure prophylaxis during a pandemic.

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Border control

International border control measures are currently in place to limit/prevent the spread of avian influenza to Australia. These include quarantine restrictions on importing live birds and avian products, and a complete ban on importing raw chicken meat. Measures will be extended to quarantining humans in response to a global pandemic as outlined in the Border Control sub plan.

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Communication

During all stages of a pandemic communication internally and externally is vital. The Strategic Communications sub plan (PDF 361KB) has been developed to provide strategic direction and a clear process to health related (and other government agency) media and communications personnel during a pandemic influenza event. The plan will ensure consistent messaging is provided during preparation for, response to and recovery from an emergency. Given the national nature of some health emergencies, SA Health will be guided by the actions and advice of the Australian Government in relation to outbreaks of national significance.

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Community Flu Clinics

The objective of a Community Flu Clinic (CFC) is to minimise the number of patient presentations/demand for service at hospital Emergency Departments (EDs) and General Practitioner (GP) practices thus allowing the continuation of their core business. A CFC will also assist in reducing transmission of infection and will provide an alternative source of influenza services which is easily accessible for the public. Special arrangements need to be met to establish a CFC and these are outlined in the Community Flu Clinic sub plan (PDF 216KB).

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Deceased and mortuary

The objectives for the management of deceased persons will change during the course of a pandemic. In the early stages, the overall aim will be to continue business as usual while preparing to manage the potential for increasing numbers as morbidity and mortality rates are likely to rise during a pandemic.

For more information regarding the Deceased and Mortuary sub plan, contact Emergency Management Unit

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Infection control

The Infection Control sub plan (PDF 122KB) focuses on the management principles applicable to the care of patients with suspected or confirmed pandemic influenza as well as providing information on standard and transmission-based precautions. In addition, it provides guidance on the areas to be considered in developing a plan for an individual health care setting.

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Local Health Networks

Local Health Networks manage the delivery of public hospital services and other community based health services as determined by the State Government and comprise of single or groups of public hospitals with a geographical or functional connection.

There are five Local Health Networks in South Australia established as incorporated hospitals under the Health Care Act 2008. These are the:

  • Central Adelaide Local Health Network
  • Northern Adelaide Local Health Network
  • Southern Adelaide Local Health Network
  • Women’s and Children’s Health Network
  • Country Health SA Local Health Network

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Mental health

The role of Mental Health Services will be to provide mental health information, consultation and support consistent with, and in support of, the general principles of the management of an influenza pandemic. Specific mental health preparedness activities relating to a response are set out within the Mental Health sub plan (PDF 136KB) to provide structure and to enable the response process.

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Primary care

Primary care is the first point of call for the majority of individuals seeking health care external to the provision of care in a hospital or specialist setting. The Primary Care Management sub plan (PDF 219KB) incorporates multiple agencies and organisations, all of which link together and will play a vital role in planning for an influenza pandemic, at the prevention and preparedness, response and recoveryphases. GPs will be an integral part of the pandemic response.

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South Australia laboratory

SA Pathology provides routine influenza diagnostic testing to SA Health and the objectives of laboratory testing during the course of a pandemic will change. In the standby phase, the overall aim is to identify new cases of the disease either entering Australia or emerging domestically to allow containment of an outbreak. During the initial response phase of a pandemic it is more difficult to predict precisely where a new case will present so increased testing may occur. Details of SA Pathology’s response to an influenza pandemic can be found in the South Australian Laboratory sub plan (PDF 130KB).

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Surveillance 

The Surveillance sub plan (PDF 119KB) outlines how the Disease Surveillance team monitors the number of cases of a disease during an outbreak. They also detect, isolate and assist with treating cases, enable contact tracing and timely interventions for people who may have come into contact with the infectious person and assist with limiting transmissions of a disease.

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Transport

The Patient Transport, SA Ambulance Service sub plan (PDF 448KB) outlines SA Ambulance Service (SAAS) transport arrangements for the management of suspected or confirmed pandemic influenza patients throughout South Australia. During an influenza pandemic, normal SAAS procedures for the transport of infectious patients to hospitals will be followed, working with receiving hospitals to manage patients.

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Vaccination

Due to the unpredictable nature of a disease the Vaccination sub plan (PDF 213KB) is designed to be flexible to allow an appropriate response. The aim is to seamlessly deliver appropriate vaccination in the event of an influenza pandemic and thereby assist with achieving the overall aims which are to minimise the health consequences of an influenza pandemic on the South Australian community and minimise disruption to the South Australian health system.

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Workforce services

It is recommended that all agencies have a workforce plan for pandemic influenza consistent with the appropriate legislation. The Workforce Services sub plan (PDF 128KB) provides a standardised approach to the key workforce issues relating to health, safety and welfare of workers (including employees, agency staff and other contractors, students, volunteers and tenants) whilst maintaining essential business services during a pandemic.

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Further information

For further information on planning for pandemic influenza, contact the Emergency Management Unit:

Email: health.emergencymanagement@sa.gov.au
Telephone: (08) 8226 7115

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