News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 

Planning Needed Now To Protect GPs In Next Pandemic

30 August 2005

Planning Needed Now To Protect GPs During Next Pandemic

General Practitioners and other primary healthcare workers are going to get sick and some are likely to die during the next flu pandemic, and steps need to be taken now to minimise the impact, a University of Otago Public health researcher says.

Dr Nick Wilson, who is based at the University’s Wellington School of Medicine and Health Sciences, says at its peak a pandemic could lead to a loss of up to 9% of GP medical work time, according to various modelling results.

In a research paper, published recently in the journal Human Resources for Health, Dr Wilson and colleagues estimated that 88% of the work time loss would be because of the GPs getting sick, while 8% would be due to hospitalisation, with the other 4% the result of GPs dying during the pandemic.

“It will all happen at a particularly critical time, when the demands are high on GPs,” Dr Wilson says.

An even more severe scenario would include time spent by GPs looking after sick family members, which could end up accounting for nearly a third of lost work time.

“There is a need to think through some of the planning steps needed to minimise the loss of availability of the GP workforce,” he says.

Those steps would include improving public health control strategies such as border control and planning how best to use the anti-virals that the Ministry of Health has been stockpiling.

“There could also be plans for setting up systems such as emergency creches so that primary healthcare workers can drop off sick children and be confident they will be looked after properly,” Dr Wilson says.

“It is something that needs to be thought through and planned in advance.”

Dr Wilson also advocates developing contingency plans to expand services such as the “Healthline” telephone information service and greater promotion of key websites with information on managing influenza.

“If GPs were able to cancel routine consultations and if the use of healthlines and websites could dampen down demand then it would help them get through that peak period.”

In other work published earlier this year Dr Wilson and colleagues estimated that during an 8-week flu pandemic spreading through the whole New Zealand population there could be an estimated 325,000 to 759,000 cases requiring medical consultations, 6,900 to 16,200 hospitalisations, and between 1,600 and 3,700 deaths.


A full copy of the published article is available at: http://www.human-resources-health.com/

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 
Legendary Bassist David Friesen Plays Wellington’s Newest Jazz Venue

Friesen is touring New Zealand to promote his latest album Another Time, Another Place, recorded live at Auckland's Creative Jazz Club in 2015. More>>

Howard Davis Review: The Father - Descending Into The Depths of Dementia

Florian Zeller's dazzling drama The Father explores the effects of a deeply unsettling illness that affects 62,000 Kiwis, a number expected to grow to 102,000 by 2030. More>>


Howard Davis Review: Blade Runner Redivivus

When Ridley Scott's innovative, neo-noir, sci-fi flick Blade Runner was originally released in 1982, at a cost of over $45 million, it was a commercial bomb. More>>

14-21 October: New Zealand Improv Festival In Wellington

Imagined curses, Shibuya’s traffic, the apocalypse, and motherhood have little in common, but all these and more serve as inspiration for the eclectic improvised offerings coming to BATS Theatre this October for the annual New Zealand Improv Festival. More>>

ALSO:

Bird Of The Year Off To A Flying Start

The competition asks New Zealanders to vote for their favourite bird in the hopes of raising awareness of the threats they face. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books:
Jenny Abrahamson's John & Charles Enys: Castle Hill Runholders, 1864-1891

This volume will be of interest to a range of readers interested in the South Island high country, New Zealand’s natural environment, and the history of science. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION