Bushfire emergency support

This page is intended to provide information about Primary Health Tasmania’s role supporting the local primary healthcare workforce in the event of a bushfire emergency.

Poster for your practice or health centre

Primary Health Tasmania has created this A4 poster for Tasmanian general practices and any other interested health facility to download and display, with a view to spreading awareness about mental health supports available for those affected by the recent bushfire emergency.

Our role supporting general practice during a bushfire emergency

In the event of a disaster, a key aim for Primary Health Tasmania is to support the ongoing business of existing local organisations who are best placed to meet the health needs of their community.

This includes supporting private general practices across the state, and their disaster plans.

During such emergencies, we collect service availability information to support the Tasmanian Department of Health, which in turn liaises with the Tasmanian Health Service and other services, such as after-hours tele-triage.

We may also collect the names and availability of GPs willing to do work additional to that from their usual practice, if required.

Primary Health Tasmania, the Department and the Tasmanian Health Service may also work together to help affected practices problem solve during a disaster.

Does your general practice need help now?

If your practice is in any way affected by local bushfire activity, please get in touch.

Disaster-related Tasmanian HealthPathways

The Tasmanian HealthPathways portal includes up-to-date local information to help primary health clinicians navigate care during disasters, such as catastrophic fire conditions.

The Pathways cover topics such as:

  • general practice management during a disaster
  • heat-related Illness
  • preparing a general practice for a disaster
  • preparing patients for a disaster
  • post-natural disaster health.

A reminder: all Tasmanian health professionals can access the free portal. If you’ve forgotten the password, or haven’t used Tasmanian HealthPathways before and would like to have it sent to you, please let us know.

Additional funding for mental health services

In January 2020, the Australian Government announced a total of $76 million over two years to ensure Australians have access to the mental health support they need to recover from the effects of the 2019-20 bushfires. More information is available in this fact sheet.

There are now Medicare rebates for extra psychological therapy sessions with no referral or mental health treatment plan, and Medicare rebates for counselling and psychological support through video telehealth services. More information is available here.

The new Medicare items apply to all Australians who are residents of, working in, or visiting a bushfire affected region. They will be in place for two years.

While much of the funded activity is directed at the most-affected bushfire areas interstate, Primary Health Tasmania is receiving a small amount of additional funding to support a temporary increase in services where current providers report higher demand. We will monitor the need for mental health services in local communities and work with our commissioned mental health service providers to increase service capacity as required.

Other local services to support mental wellbeing

Primary Health Tasmania has commissioned a number of ongoing mental health services available free of charge to eligible Tasmanians – information (including eligibility criteria) is available through Our Services Portal.

Our Tasmanian Health Directory also has a listing of private mental health professionals in each region of Tasmania.

The Australian Government’s Head to Health website links to a range of digital mental health resources to help people affected by the bushfires.

Registering to help interstate

Tasmanian health professionals who wish to assist with health response and recovery efforts in bushfire-affected areas of mainland Australia can contact the Rural Workforce Agency for Tasmania, HR+, on 6332 8600 for more information and to register their interest.

Useful links and resources