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 State Health Coordinator (SHC) of the situation (including the need to activate the Metropolitan Hospitals’ Medical Response teams and Westplan Health) by contacting the DOH ‘On Call’ Duty Officer (OCDO) on (08) 9328 0553.
- The notification by SJA needs to be made in a timely manner in order to facilitate a timely Health response. Therefore, as soon as SJA are notified of an incident which potentially requires a health response, SJA must alert DOH by contacting the OCDO.
- The OCDO will contact the SHC by page on (08) 9328 0556 to inform of the situation.
- The OCDO, on advice from the SHC will contact the Hospital Emergency Operations Centre (HEOC) Coordinator by page on (08) 6454 4622 to inform of the situation.
- The DOH through the SHC and/or OCDO 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, the DOH will ensure that SJA have been notified by contacting the SJA Operations Centre on
(08) 9334 1234 and requesting to speak to the Manager State Ambulance Operations.
The Health response will normally be activated in stages. In an impact event, these stages may be condensed with stages being activated concurrently.
This stage is activated when advice of an impending emergency is received or when, following the occurrence of an event, it is unclear as to whether a health emergency management response is required. During this stage, the situation is monitored to determine the likelihood and nature of the health emergency management response. The following actions are undertaken:
- SJA will review the information received and the potential need for medical assistance.
- As per the notification process above, SJA will notify the OCDO of the situation (including the potential need to activate the Metropolitan Hospitals’ Medical Response teams and Westplan Health).
- The OCDO will notify the SHC of the situation immediately.
- SJA will assess the casualty scene and the need for medical assistance and advise the OCDO immediately of this requirement.
- If the situation warrants, the SHC will activate Westplan Health and the Metropolitan Business Continuity and Disaster Plan (MBCDP) to the ‘Alert’ stage. The SHC will advise the OCDO to notify the HEOC Coordinator of the situation immediately.
- The SHC will determine the need to activate the State Health Emergency Operations Centre (SHEOC), based on the severity of the event and advice from the OCDO.
- If there is a significant event, the SHC will as soon as practicable:
- advise the Director General and members of the State Health Executive Forum (SHEF) of the event, including the resources that are/may be required from DOH;
- advise Public Affairs on (08) 9489 2888 all hours of DOH’s involvement;
- advise the State Emergency Management Committee (SEMC) of the situation as necessary.
- Depending on the situation, the SHC may consult with members of the Health Services Sub-Committee (HSS), where necessary.
- On advise from the OCDO, the HEOC Coordinator will notify Hospital Health Coordinators (via the Emergency Department Duty Officer or nominated Nurse Manager) and place them on alert.
- The HEOC Coordinator will liaise directly with SJA on the operational aspects of the situation.
- The HEOC Coordinator will provide regular Situation Reports to the SHC, OCDO and Hospital Health Coordinators (HHC).
This stage is activated when information received in the Alert stage is sufficient to warrant preparatory activities in readiness for a response. The following actions are undertaken:
- The SHC will convene and chair a meeting of the HSS to consider the situation and determine strategy, if necessary.
- The HEOC Coordinator will designate which hospitals will provide Medical Teams, as per the medical teams roster.
- The HEOC Coordinator will contact the Emergency Department Duty Officer(s) to notify them of the disaster situation and request a Medical Team to be assembled (if required). The Emergency Department Duty Officer(s) are responsible for activating the hospital’s ‘Code Brown’ procedures if necessary.
- The HEOC Coordinator will advise SJA which hospitals are supplying the Medical Teams and request SJA to provide the necessary transport to take the Medical Teams to the disaster site.
- For hospitals without an Emergency Department, the HEOC Coordinator will contact the nominated Nurse Manager to notify them of the disaster. The Nurse Manager is responsible for activating the hospitals ‘Code Brown’ procedures if necessary.
- The Hospital Health Coordinator(s) are responsible for actioning the ‘Code Brown’ alert initiated from the Emergency Department or designated nurse manager.
- The HEOC Coordinator will maintain direct communication with SJA on operational matters, including details on number of casualties and the nature of their injuries. They will also keep the HHC, SHC and OCDO updated via regular Situation Reports.
This stage is activated when a health disaster management response is required and resources are deployed accordingly. The following actions are undertaken:
- The SHEOC and Hospital Emergency Operations Centre (HEOC) are activated and staffed.
- The SHC will coordinate the release of statements to the media for the Department.
- The SHC will activate the Department’s 1800 public information telephone service
(1800 202 264)
- The SHC will activate the TOPAS disaster flag and reporting extract by contacting InfoHealth on 1300 302 536.
- The Hospital Health Coordinator(s) are responsible for ensuring that the hospital’s Emergency Operation Centre (however titled) is manned, and that the Health 2-way radio network is being monitored (where available and requested by the HEOC).
- The Hospital Health Coordinator(s) are also required to collate bed status reports as requested by the HEOC Coordinator. The reports are faxed or emailed to the HEOC.
- The Hospital Health Coordinator(s) will notify the HEOC Coordinator when the medical team has been dispatched.
- The HEOC Coordinator is responsible for designating hospital destinations for casualties and informing the relevant HHC of the impending arrival of the casualty.
- The hospital emergency department(s) are responsible for receiving and treating casualties delivered to the hospital and care of patients displaced from other areas.
This stage is activated an organisation’s response is no longer required. The following actions are undertaken:
- Staff within the SHEOC and HEOC are informed to “stand down”.
- Hot de-briefs are conducted by all participating Health areas (SHEOC, HEOC, HHCs, Hospital Emergency Operation Centres, Medical Teams)
- Arrangements for full de-briefings are organised and de-brief reports from all participating Health areas are submitted to the SHC.
Details on the responsibilities of participating roles/agencies are listed in Appendix A.
MONITORING AND REVIEW
SJA will conduct testing of this notification process by contacting the OCDO on the first day of each month (regardless of public holidays and weekends).
The Senior Policy Officer, Disaster Preparedness and Management is responsible for the monitoring and review of this document on an annual basis.
ACTING DIRECTOR GENERAL
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH