GPs an afterthought in pandemic flu response

“Communication with GPs was seen by some as inadequate in volume, content and timeliness,” the official review of Australia’s response to the H1N1 outbreak notes.

The moderate nature of the pandemic led to a larger role for GPs than had been foreseen and at times doctors at the front-line received contradictory advice, it said.

While GPs needed “early consolidated clinical advice” on the role of antivirals, for example, many reported getting only secondhand information from the media while others found it overwhelming to be bombarded with directions from both state and federal authorities.

Gaps in the Australian Health Management Plan for Pandemic Influenza led to hastily convened advisory groups such as the General Practice Roundtable, which ended up playing a vital role, the review said.

The health department’s report, Review of Australia’s Health Sector Response to Pandemic (H1N1) 2009: