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Community Based Pandemic Assessment Centres

Media release

15 December 2005

Community Based Assessment Centres - roles and functions in a flu pandemic

The expected roles and functions of Community Based Assessment Centres (CBACs) in the event of an influenza pandemic have been outlined by the Ministry of Health, in a draft document sent to District Health Boards for comment and to assist with local planning.

CBACs would help keep people who may have influenza away from general practices and hospital emergency departments, the usual first ports of call for people who are unwell. The Centres would cater for people with influenza symptoms and others who are likely to benefit from the available treatment. The primary functions would include:

i) providing clinical assessment, advice and referrals

ii) enabling health professionals to specialise in influenza and infection control

iii) providing a secure distribution centre for anti-virals and antibiotics

CBACs could also support the home-based self-care in association with telephone triage and advice.

Director of Public Health, Dr Mark Jacobs says "A working group representing a variety of groups including GPs, Medical Officers of Health, practice nurses and emergency planners has developed this first draft guidance. It also draws heavily on a document developed by Regional Public Health on the Feasibility of Community Based Assessment Centres for Pandemic Illness."

"While there is debate around the role of CBACs, our aim is to provide interim guidance to District Health Boards and Primary Health Organisations on the expected functions of CBACs. It is interim advice, and will be updated following sector comment which is due by 20 January 2006."

Community-Based Assessment Centres are common features of influenza planning internationally. They are to provide surge capacity to deal with a sudden increase in demand for primary health care.

More information on pandemic planning is available at www.moh.govt/pandemicinfluenza


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