Dialogue Volume 14 Issue 1 2018 - Page 23

POLICY MATTERS When a public health emergency hits EXTERNAL CONSULTATION DATES HELD: September 14th, 2017 – December 4th, 2017 # OF RESPONDENTS: 36 H ow prepared would you be if Ontario suddenly found itself in the midst of a major outbreak of an airborne infection or perhaps was swamped by a wave of reports about an E coli infection? A 2015 US study 1 which exam- ined physicians' assessments of their preparedness found signifi- cant gaps in their planning and preparation for such emergencies. Sizable fractions of physicians were unaware of emergency response tools in their care setting – with nearly one-half of physicians in hospitals (44%) reporting that 1 they did not know whether their care setting had an emergency response plan, and less than one- quarter reporting that they had participated in a drill using such a plan in the previous two years. Although a similar survey to assess Ontario physician prepared- ness has not been recently con- ducted, experiences during recent public health emergencies show there is always room for improving one’s state of readiness. The Public Health Emergencies policy, just approved by Council, urges Ontario physicians to have a level of preparedness in the event of a crisis. “The College recom- BREAKDOWN OF RESPONDENTS: 78% PHYSICIANS 11% ORGANIZATIONS 5% OTHER HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS 5% UNIDENTIFIED CHANGES MADE IN RESPONSE TO FEEDBACK: YES NO (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2015;9:666–680) ISSUE 1, 2018 DIALOGUE 23