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Thursday, 20 September 2007
Page: 194


Mr Bevis asked the Minister for Health and Ageing, in writing, on 7 August 2007:

In respect of the upcoming APEC summit in Sydney:

(a)   What has the Government done to prepare medical services for victims of a potential terrorist attack resulting in between 100 and 200 major casualties ;

(b)   What consultation has he or his department undertaken with trauma services in Sydney and when, and with whom, did consultation take place;

(c)   What measures have Sydney Hospitals instigated to prepare for possible mass casualties; and

(d)   What preparations has the Commonwealth made for ambulance services to handle a potential terrorist attack resulting in between 100 and 200 major casualties.


Mr Abbott (Minister for Health and Ageing) —The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

(a)   Under existing emergency arrangements the NSW Government is responsible for the provision of medical services within its borders. These arrangements are not altered for large scale events such as the Olympics or APEC leaders week. If an event occurs that threatens to overwhelm or exhaust the resources of the NSW Health system, national coordination arrangements, including the possible redistribution of patients, are activated.

(b)   In a large scale event, trauma services in Sydney are coordinated by the NSW Department of Health (NSW Health Counter Disaster Unit - CDU). I am advised that the CDU has undertaken extensive planning in conjunction with the APEC Taskforce in preparation for APEC 2007. Representatives from my department have participated regularly in APEC Taskforce planning meetings during 2007 and liaised frequently with the CDU.

(c)   I am advised that under the NSW health plan, each of Sydney’s nine major trauma hospitals have a dedicated role. Under the plan NSW Health and the Ambulance Service will provide a range of patient transport services for APEC leaders and officials and each of the metropolitan health services will maintain dedicated medical response teams during APEC Leaders Week on a 24 hour basis. Medical clinics will be established at secure APEC venues, staffed by GPs, nurses and paramedics.

(d)   In a large scale incident the ambulance services will be coordinated by the NSW CDU. If an event occurs that threatens to exhaust the resources of the NSW Health system, national coordination arrangements, including possible redistribution of patients, are activated.