Epicentre of influenza - the primary care experience in Melbourne, Victoria

Aust Fam Physician. 2010 May;39(5):313-6.


Background: General practice in Australia is expected to play a major role in responding to an influenza pandemic. This study investigated the experience of frontline general practice during the H1N1 influenza pandemic of 2009.

Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with general practices in the northern suburbs of Melbourne (Victoria) in August and September 2009. Purposive sampling chose practices with high volumes of patient presentations early in the pandemic. Interviews were content transcribed at the time of interview. Major themes were identified through discussion with general practice division personnel and academic general practitioners in the field.

Results: There was significant variability in the pandemic experiences of the 10 participating practices.

Discussion: Addressing issues identified in this study could increase the capacity of general practice to support the community and public health measures during a pandemic. Future planning for the role of general practice in pandemics should include pre-pandemic assessment of practice capacity, review of public health communication strategies and workforce protection, and improved integration of general practice and public health responses.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Communicable Disease Control / organization & administration*
  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Family Practice / methods*
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Immunization Programs / organization & administration
  • Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype / isolation & purification*
  • Influenza, Human / diagnosis
  • Influenza, Human / epidemiology*
  • Influenza, Human / therapy*
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'
  • Primary Health Care / organization & administration
  • Public Health
  • Urban Population
  • Victoria