Disaster Response and Support

Living and Working in the NT

In the Northern Territory, we are vulnerable to a range of natural disasters including tropical cyclones, flooding and bush-fires. Our growing importance as a strategic location may also increase our vulnerability to security threats.

Territorians have a long history of pulling together – our physical isolation from the rest of Australia demands it, as well as our pioneering spirit. NT PHN looks forward to continuing to be part of this tradition through the provision of information to assist local providers in being where they are needed in the event of a disaster.

Northern Territory Government – Emergency Management and Disaster Arrangement: Regional Medical Groups

Regional Medical Groups
Picture Source: Region 2 Medical Group Counter Disaster Plan, Department of Health

The Northern Territory Government has developed a Territory wide emergency framework to respond to all types of disasters, both natural and man-made. In 2009, the Northern Territory Department of Health established the NT Medical Emergency Response and Recovery Framework, setting out Territory-wide protocols in health emergency management.

This framework includes the development of regional medical groups, to ensure a locally appropriate response is implemented for communities affected by disaster.

The prime responsibilities of the medical groups are to coordinate and control the mobilisation of health responses in the event of an emergency affecting the NT.

This includes:

  • hospital and medical services for the management of large numbers of casualties resulting from an emergency or disaster
  • provision of field medical teams to manage casualties in the field - this may be prior to, or alternative to, later transport to hospital
  • provision of medical and mental health services to welfare emergency units
  • laboratory services, including diagnostic, monitoring and therapeutic services and the Australian Red Cross Blood Service
  • liaison with other jurisdictions for the provision of additional support
  • provision of advice to the Territory Controller and Counter Disaster Council on measures to help improve the robustness of the medical response in the event of a disasters
  • provision of advice to the Territory Controller and the Recovery Coordination Group on medical issues impacting on response and recovery measures.

Visit the Northern Territory Department of Health website for more information.

NT PHN's Role

NT PHN works in partnership with the coordinators of the three Regional Medical Groups, and has defined responsibilities under each Regional Medical Group Counter Disaster Plan.

NT PHN's role under the Regional Medical Group Counter Disaster Plans is to communicate with private general practices to ascertain which providers and general practices may be available to assist in the event of a disaster, or in the post-disaster recovery period. 

NT PHN will achieve this by:

  • forwarding the contact details of practices who indicate that they are interested in providing a first aid service during an event to the regional medical group coordinators to co-ordinate an approach with the practice to deliver care in such an event
  • forwarding the contact details of individual general practitioners who indicate their willingness to provide a service in the event of a disaster (e.g. at a general practice established by the Department of Health) to the regional medical group coordinators who will use this information to communicate the details of first aid posts requiring general practitioner services.

Providers are encouraged to advise NT PHN of how they or their practice can assist in the event of a disaster. NT PHN will also periodically prompt practices to update their contact details.

NT PHN staff members do not provide clinical services to patients or members of the public during a disaster or in the post disaster recovery period. The Health Network NT does not coordinate or make payments to GPs or other Primary Health Care providers for work undertaken during a disaster or in the post disaster.

If you would like to provide assistance in the event of a disaster, please complete the appropriate form by selecting the General Practices or Individuals button below.

General Practices               Individuals

Disaster Response Resources

RACGP Emergency Response Planning Tool (ERPT): The ERPT has revolutionised emergency response planning for general practices. The ERPT is a practical tool that guides you through a series of planning templates, where critical information about your practice can be entered and saved. This information will be used to create an emergency response plan which is individually tailored to your general practice. Your customised emergency response plan can be saved online and/or printed as a hard copy resource. Click here to access the ERPT online.

Northern Territory health disaster management website
Pharmacy Guild of Australia: Responding to Tropical Cyclones factsheet
Australian Emergency Management Handbook
Australian Government emergency management plans