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NQPHN delivers vital disaster planning workshops for residential aged care homes and general practices across North Queensland

Published 23 April 2024

Northern Queensland Primary Health Network (NQPHN) has successfully executed a series of Disaster Planning Workshops aimed at enhancing the resilience and preparedness of residential aged care homes (RACHs) and general practices across the region.


These workshops, conducted in Cairns, Townsville, and Mackay during November and December 2023, saw active participation from key stakeholders and industry professionals.

The training initiative was designed to equip RACHs and practices with the necessary knowledge and tools to effectively plan, respond, and recover from emergencies such as COVID-19, pandemics, and natural disasters.

More than 40 per cent of RACHs in the region participated, underlining the significance of such preparedness efforts in safeguarding vulnerable populations.

In addition to the RACH workshops, NQPHN commissioned Australian General Practice Accreditation Limited (AGPAL) to conduct workshops for general practices, with 53 practices in attendance.

These workshops provided expert disaster planning guidance and facilitated collaborative testing of disaster plans to enhance response capabilities.

NQPHN Chief Executive Officer Sean Rooney emphasised the importance of proactive disaster planning in ensuring the safety and well-being of aged care residents and the broader community.

"These workshops are a critical step towards building robust disaster management capabilities within our aged care facilities and general practices,” he said.

“By fostering collaboration and sharing best practices, service providers are better prepared to mitigate the impact of emergencies and protect patients."

The workshops, tailored to the specific needs of RACHs and general practices, covered a range of topics including:

  • Queensland Disaster Management arrangements
  • business continuity planning
  • scenario discussions.

Key objectives included increasing awareness of local hazards and risks, promoting tools for emergency planning, and enhancing resilience networks across the sector.

Senior Sergeant Owen Kennedy, who led the Cairns RACH workshop and serves as the Executive Officer of the Cairns District Disaster Management Group, said the Cairns workshop particularly assisted local RACH management in preparing for and responding to Tropical Cyclone Jasper, which occurred just two weeks after the workshop.

“The workshop was a discussion exercise which was scenario based and the scenario used was an incredible rainfall event which was pretty close to the mark for Jasper,” he said.

“The workshops were a great opportunity for disaster management practitioners to work with RACH managers to build facilities’ capacity and capability for events such as Jasper for our most vulnerable.”

The exercise also assisted managers to work using the Queensland Disaster Management Arrangement (QDMA), and in particular using the strategies of Preparations Preventions Response and Recovery (PPRR).

Sen Sgt Kennedy highlighted the importance of community collaboration in disaster preparedness.

"These workshops served as platforms for bringing together various stakeholders to strategise and coordinate responses to potential emergencies,” he said.

“By working together, we can effectively address challenges and ensure the safety of our communities."

Last updated: 23 April 2024