The AMA’s recent position statement on the role of doctors in disasters was the impetus behind an insightful radio package put together by reporter Max Chalmers for ABC Radio National’s breakfast program this week.
AMA Vice President Dr Chris Moy was interviewed by Max as part of the package which highlighted the need for doctors to have a presence on local emergency management committees and in the planning for disasters such as the 2019/2020 bushfire catastrophe.
Doctors with expertise or coal-face experience, are not given a sufficient role in current disaster planning arrangements and when disasters hit, there is a great deal of policy on the run as doctors struggle to maintain services to their local community.
The position statement says it is critical to include local doctors during a disaster response and says the medical and healthcare workforce should be consulted in the development and review of disaster plans at a governmental level as well as at health facilities.
In addition to disaster medicine experts, consultation should include general practitioners and other medical specialists in primary and acute care settings in both the private and public health sectors as well as those from rural and remote areas including Indigenous communities.