The GP's response to pandemic influenza: a qualitative study

Fam Pract. 2006 Jun;23(3):267-72. doi: 10.1093/fampra/cml014. Epub 2006 Apr 11.


Background: Current pandemic influenza plans to place GPs at the front line of a pandemic influenza response. However, little is known about GPs' perceptions of their role and preparedness in the event of a pandemic occurring.

Objective: Our aim was to assess general practice preparedness to respond to pandemic influenza and to identify issues that need to be addressed to enhance preparedness for the next pandemic.

Methods: We conducted a series of semi-structured interviews to explore GPs' views regarding their role in responding to pandemic influenza, practice preparedness and planning issues, and the expectations and requirements of GPs for provision of professional services during a pandemic. The subjects were 60 Australian GPs, purposively selected to maximize diversity within the sample.

Results: GPs in this study expressed a willingness to provide professional services in a pandemic. The motivation for this was largely altruistic and was in the context of high personal risk of becoming infected. Participants did not have stockpiles of antivirals or personal protective equipment within their practices and felt that government had a duty of care to stockpile on behalf of the general practice workforce. Participants were enthusiastic about receiving further information and training in pandemic preparedness. The most appropriate setting for this was within practices.

Conclusions: GPs were willing to provide clinical services in a pandemic. However, appropriate education, training and supply of equipment were necessary to support them in this role. This information will inform further planning for the public health response to pandemic influenza.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Birds
  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Female
  • Health Plan Implementation
  • Humans
  • Influenza A Virus, H5N1 Subtype*
  • Influenza, Human / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physician's Role*
  • Physicians, Family*
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Tasmania / epidemiology