Health Response During A Major Incident (Metropolitan)
The Department of Health (DOH) has an obligation within Westplan Health to ensure that an efficient health response can be activated to meet health emergency and disaster management requirements.
To outline the overall health response required in the Metropolitan area, whenever there has been a disaster, major incident or internal failure, which is likely to involve multiple casualties or cause significant disruption to patient care.
- During an external disaster, St John Ambulance (SJA) will provide the initial assessment and response to the site of a disaster that has multiple casualties.
- SJA will notify the Areawide Medical Coordinator (AWMC) of the situation (including the need to activate the Metropolitan Hospitals’ Medical Response teams) by contacting Royal Perth Hospital on (08) 9224 2244 and asking to speak to the ‘On-call Medical Administrator’.
- SJA will also notify the State Health Coordinator (SHC) of the potential need to activate Westplan Health by contacting the DOH ‘On Call’ Duty Officer on (08) 9328 0553.
- The DOH and AWMC may also receive notification of a disaster, major incident or internal failure from other sources, including the Hazard Management Agency (HMA) and individual hospitals. Under this circumstance, DOH and AWMC need to ensure that SJA have been notified.
ACTIVATION OF STATE HEALTH EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTRE
Activation procedures are addressed in DPMU Operational Instruction 002, which is available at: http://www.health.wa.gov.au/disaster/operational_instructions
St John Ambulance is responsible for:
- Assessing the casualty scene and the need for medical assistance.
- Notifying the AWMC of the situation (including the need to activate the Metropolitan Hospitals’ Medical Response teams).
- Notifying the State Health Coordinator of the potential need to activate Westplan Health by contacting the DOH ‘On Call’ Duty Officer.
- Conducting testing of this notification process by contacting the AWMC and DOH ‘On Call’ Duty Officer on the first day of each month (regardless of public holidays and weekends).
The Areawide Medical Coordinator is responsible for:
- Activating the Metropolitan Perth Business Continuity and Disaster Plan. The AWMC can be contacted 24 hours per day via the Royal Perth switchboard (08) 9224 2244 by requesting the ‘On-call Medical Administrator’.
- Contacting the Hospital Health Coordinator(s) (via the Emergency Department Duty Officer or nominated Nurse Manager) and placing them on alert within 15 minutes of the situation occurring. The AWMC will then confer with the Hospital Health Coordinator about the level of response to be undertaken.
- Informing the SHC (via the On Call Duty Officer) and SJA in the event that the activation of the Metropolitan Perth Business Continuity and Disaster Plan is likely to be required.
- Contacting the Metropolitan Hospitals Emergency Department Duty Officers to notify them of the disaster situation and request a Medical Team to be assembled (if required). The Emergency Department Duty Officers are responsible for activating the hospital’s ‘Code Brown’ Procedures.
- For hospitals without an Emergency Department, the AWMC will contact the nominated Nurse Manager to notify them of the disaster. The Nurse manager is responsible for activating the hospitals ‘Code Brown’ procedures.
- Designating which hospitals will provide Medical Teams, as per the medical teams roster.
- Advising SJA which hospitals are supplying the Medical Teams and requesting SJA to provide the necessary transport to take the Medical Teams to the disaster site.
- Maintaining communication links with SJA and the Medical Commander to ensure that the appropriate number of Medical Teams have been deployed.
- Notifying the SHC of the numbers of casualties involved and the action taken.
The State Health Coordinator is responsible for:
- Determining the need to activate the Emergency Operations Centre, based on the severity of the event and advice from the ‘On Call’ Duty Officer.
- If there is a significant event, the SHC will as soon as practicable:
- advise the Director General of the event, including resources that are/may be required from DOH;
- advise the AWMC and Area Chief Executives, as necessary;
- advise Public Affairs on (08) 9222 4333 all hours of DOH’s involvement;
- advise State Emergency Management Committee (SEMC) of the situation as necessary.
- The strategic management of the state health emergency management function during major health and other emergencies, which may include activating Westplan Health.
- Depending on the situation, to convene and chair a meeting of the State Health Disaster Management Committee to consider the situation and determine strategy.
- Managing the operations of the State Health Emergency Operations Centre during major emergencies and disasters.
- Representing DOH at SEMC or on the State Emergency Coordinaton Group (SECG) advising on health emergency management matters.
- Coordinating the release of statements to the media for the Department.
- Activating the Department’s 1800 public information telephone service (1800 202 264).
- Activating the TOPAS disaster flag by contacting InfoHealth on 1300 302 536.
The Department of Health – ‘On Call’ Duty Officer is responsible for:
- Being the first point of contact for queries in relation to disasters and requests to activate Westplan Health and can be contacted on (08) 9328 0553 24 hours each day.
- Contacting the State Health Coordinator (SHC) by page on (08) 9328 0556 to seek advice on what assistance, if any, is required if the situation is unable to be handled by normal local resources, or if there is likely to be significant DOH involvement in a disaster event.
- Obtaining the necessary contact details from SJA for the SHC.
- Notifying the State Health Coordinator of the situation in order that Westplan Health can be activated if required.
- Assist with the management of the State Health Emergency Operations Centre during operations.
The Hospital Health Coordinator(s) are responsible for:
- Actioning the ‘Code Brown’ alert initiated from the Emergency Department or designated nurse manager.
- Ensuring that the hospital’s Emergency Coordination Centre (however titled) is manned, and that the Health 2-way radio network is being monitored (where applicable).
- Collating a bed status report to be faxed or e-mailed to the Metropolitan Emergency Coordination Centre.
- Notiyfing the AWMC when the medical team has been dispatched.
The Emergency Department Duty Officer(s) are responsible for:
- Activating the hospitals ‘Code Brown’ procedures.
- Receiving and treating casualties delivered to the hospital and care of patients displaced from other areas.
MONITORING AND REVIEW
The Senior Policy Officer, Disaster Preparedness and Management is responsible for the monitoring and review of this document on an annual basis.
Dr Neale Fong
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH