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Emergency managers chosen to update national plan

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Emergency managers chosen to update national plan

Emergency management specialists from the Joint Centre for Disaster Research are among Massey staff contracted by the Ministry of Health to review and update its National Health Emergency Plan.

The plan, which guides the direction of the health and disability sector and all of the government in the event of a health emergency like a pandemic, was last updated in 2008 before a range of national and local emergencies in New Zealand.

The plan was refined to respond to sudden events like the H1N1 pandemic, the Samoan tsunami, the Canterbury earthquakes and the grounding of the Rena container ship.

Associate Professor Sarb Johal, from the Joint Centre on Massey’s Wellington campus, says the plan structure was also used to manage organised events such as the Rugby World Cup 2011.

“In light of this it is appropriate to update the plan to reflect what has been learned during these events in New Zealand, and across the world,” he says.

“Massey University and the Joint Centre for Disaster Research are excited to be partnering with the Ministry of Health to further develop this critical part of the nation’s capability to effectively deliver and efficiently coordinate health services during all significant emergencies.”

Other Massey colleagues including centre director Professor David Johnston, Infectious Disease Research Centre director Professor Nigel French, and Research Centre for Māori Health director Professor Chris Cunningham are also involved in the plan’s revision and update, as are independent contractors Jon Mitchell and Carol MacDonald.

The update would include comparing the current plan with international equivalents, a revision of the central plan, and recommendations for revision for separate attachments including provisions related to a national burns plan, principles for psychosocial support and a pandemic action plan.

It also specifically addresses actions around the Canterbury earthquake and an assessment of procedures related to national patient movement, acute transfers and the relocation of residential care clients.

ENDS

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