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Primary care in disasters: opportunity to address a hidden burden of health care

Penelope L Burns, Kirsty A Douglas and Wendy Hu
Med J Aust 2019; 210 (7): . || doi: 10.5694/mja2.50067
Published online: 15 April 2019

General practitioners provide a flexible response to the changed needs of the disaster‐affected population

In Australia, “a land … of droughts and flooding rains,”1 disasters affect our lives annually, the majority of which are weather‐related.2 They are a part of the landscape, taking the form of cyclones, floods, bushfires, droughts and other phenomena. Cyclone Debbie, which hit northern Queensland in 2017, the Tathra bushfires, which affected the south coast of New South Wales in 2018, and the thunderstorm asthma event in Melbourne in 2016 are just a few recent examples. Such catastrophic events affect rural and urban communities and coastal and inland locations. No community in Australia is exempt, which is reflected in the recent shift in focus by national and international disaster management policy to prioritise improving local community capacity to respond and recover.3,4

  • Penelope L Burns1,2
  • Kirsty A Douglas1
  • Wendy Hu2

  • 1 Australian National University, Canberra, ACT
  • 2 Western Sydney University, Sydney, NSW

Correspondence: Penelope.Burns@anu.edu.au

Acknowledgements: 

We thank the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners Foundation for their support on some early work in this field.

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

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