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Doctors of BC makes recommendations to improve medical care during disasters

November 26, 2018

Hazards – whether natural or man-made – can happen anywhere and to anyone. Earthquakes, wildfires, pandemics and other mass casualty incidents can strike at any time with little or no warning, leaving a community unable to cope and causing serious harm to people’s safety, health and welfare.

Doctors and other health care providers play a critical role in saving lives and treating the sick and injured when disasters strike. They provide continuity of care for existing patients, assist those who are injured or unable to reach their own doctor, and manage the increased demand for emergency services. Historically though, doctors have not been part of the emergency preparedness and planning processes – the work that takes place before a disaster occurs.

In its newly released policy paper Improving Collaboration in Times of Crisis: Integrating Physicians in Disaster Preparedness and Health Emergency Management, Doctors of BC makes a number of recommendations to not only help support the pivotal role doctors play during and after a disaster, but to also support the integration of doctors in health emergency management planning. These recommendations include:

  • The BC Government, working with stakeholders and ensuring meaningful input from physicians and other health care providers, develop a provincial health emergency framework that clarifies how the health sector, including primary and community care, fits within the context of the BC emergency management system.
  • All provincial, regional, and community partners engaged in emergency management provide doctors with meaningful opportunities to both participate in health emergency management planning and to provide clinical leadership at the local, regional, and/or provincial levels.

By supporting doctors to effectively participate in health emergency management and its planning, British Columbians affected by any given hazard can be assured they will receive the right care with the right resources during and following an emergency.

For the full policy paper and list of all of Doctors of BC’s recommendations and commitments, click here

To view the Emergency Management Cycle infographic, click here