Objective: To assess the views, needs and intended behaviour of general practitioners and practice nurses (PNs) regarding pandemic influenza.
Design, setting and participants: A postal survey of GPs and PNs in four Divisions of General Practice in New South Wales, selected to represent a diverse sample of practices from inner-city, semi-urban and rural areas. The study was undertaken from 1 February to 1 April 2009.
Main outcome measures: GPs' and PNs' responses to survey statements assessing their awareness and perceived personal risk, intended behaviour in the event of a pandemic, and expectations surrounding antivirals, vaccine and personal and family protection.
Results: Of 390 general practice staff who were sent the survey, 139 (36%) completed it. Most respondents felt confident that they possessed the necessary knowledge (71.5%, 98/137) and skills (73.7%, 101/137) to provide patient care during an influenza pandemic. Although 38.7% (53/137) stated that they would visit quarantined symptomatic patients, 41.6% (57/137) were unsure. More than half the respondents (53.2%, 74/139) stated that they would require access to vaccination and antivirals for their family as well as themselves before they would attend symptomatic patients at the general practice.
Conclusion: These findings provide evidence of the need to ensure that general practice staff have access to personal and family protection to encourage an adequate response to a pandemic situation.