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Emerg Med Australas . Planning for the Next Pandemic: Reflections on the Early Phase of the Australian COVID-19 Public Health Response from the Emergency Department

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  • Emerg Med Australas . Planning for the Next Pandemic: Reflections on the Early Phase of the Australian COVID-19 Public Health Response from the Emergency Department


    Emerg Med Australas


    . 2021 Apr 30.
    doi: 10.1111/1742-6723.13799. Online ahead of print.
    Planning for the Next Pandemic: Reflections on the Early Phase of the Australian COVID-19 Public Health Response from the Emergency Department


    Laksmi S Govindasamy 1 , Kai Hsun Hsiao 2 , Lai Heng Foong 2 , Simon Judkins 3



    Affiliations

    Abstract

    Emergency Departments (EDs) play a crucial role as frontline health services throughout public health emergencies, including pandemics. The strength of the Australian public health response to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has mitigated the impact of the pandemic on clinical services, but there has still been a substantial impact on EDs and the health system. We revisit major events and lessons from the first wave of COVID-19 in Australia to consider the implications and avenues for systems-level improvements for future pandemic and public health emergency response for EDs. Notwithstanding the remarkable efforts of health care workers across the health system, COVID-19 has uncovered structural and planning challenges, and highlighted weaknesses and strengths of the Australian federation. In anticipating future pandemics and other public health threats, particularly in the face of climate change, hard won lessons from the COVID-19 response should be incorporated in future planning, policies, practice, and advocacy.

    Keywords: COVID-19; Coronavirus; disaster planning; pandemic; public health emergencies.

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