General Practice Support For Bush Fire And Flood Victims, Australia

February 13, 2009 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is deeply saddened by the tragic impact of the ongoing bushfires in Victoria and New South Wales and the disastrous floods in Queensland. The general practice profession is on the front line of supporting victims and is offering a number of services to help families come through this difficult time.

“The scale of the disaster in loss of human life and injury has been shocking. The college sends its heartfelt condolences to those who have lost loved ones or who may know people who remain unaccounted for,” said Dr Chris Mitchell, RACGP President and GP in northern NSW.

“We are also saddened by the reported death of Dr Chris Towie, a GP in Reedy Creek, north of Kinglake West. Additionally, we are saddened at the death of Professor Bob Pierce, a sleep disorder expert at the Austin Hospital, who died in Kinglake. We extend our sympathy and condolences to their families, colleagues and patients.

“So many families are facing the consequences of lost livelihoods, damaged property and lost livestock. The damage to bush land, wildlife and the broader environment is significant.

“General practitioners, including GP locums, are providing ongoing, vital support to communities that have borne the brunt of the fires.

“Most clinical care provided in the community in the aftermath of natural disasters, such as bush fires, is provided by GPs and associated allied health professionals. Rural general practice is well equipped to provide patient care in these extreme situations.

“Those people who have come through this ordeal and who need care and support can visit their GP to ensure their health is maintained as they rebuild their lives, their livelihoods and their homes,” said Dr Mitchell.

The RACGP acknowledges the role played by the Rural Workforce Agency Victoria (RWAV) in co-ordinating locum relief to practices and Divisions affected by the bushfires. GPs who wish to support the volunteer effort should contact Tony Mackinnon, RWAV, at or for more information see

RACGP GP Support Program

This program provides support services for GPs. GPs can access our GP Support program service by calling 1300 366 789 for a free confidential appointment. RACGP members can access up to three free consultations each financial year – and additional services if required. Contact our GP Support Service by calling 1300 366 789 for a free confidential appointment. Go to for a full list of locations.

GP Psych Support

This service is made available to GPs who are seeking patient management advice from psychiatrists.

GP Psych Support

Australian Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health

In supporting patients, GPs can refer to The Australian Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health’s (ACPMH) easy-to-use algorithm outlining the treatment of adults with Acute Stress Disorder (ASD) and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The RACGP has endorsed this resource and worked closely with ACPMH to ensure this algorithm was ‘useable’ and relevant for the day to day practice of the GP. A copy of the complete Guidelines, and for resources for families and carers, please refer to

Articles from Australian Family Physician (AFP)

The online version of the official journal of the RACGP features a number of articles focusing on managing trauma and disasters, visit

Australian Psychological Society (APS)

The APS has provided the following two links; these resources feature advice on coping with the impact of natural disasters. Visit or

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is responsible for maintaining standards for quality clinical practice, education and training, and research in Australian general practice. The RACGP has the largest general practitioner membership of any medical organisation in Australia and represents the majority of Australia’s general practitioners.

Royal Australian College of General Practitioners



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