If you are in a life-threatening situation or emergency, please call ‘000’.
For non-urgent conditions, and if you can travel safely, please visit the closest open GP or Pharmacy near you. If you have any non-urgent questions or concerns about medication (storage and supplies) or your health during a natural disaster event, please contact one of your local pharmacists or GPs. Remember; “if it’s flooded, forget it!”.
Find your nearest GP or pharmacist using the National Health Services Directory.
If you can’t travel safely to your nearest health service provider and you are worried about your health, please call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) to get non-urgent medical advice from a registered nurse 24/7.
Flood and cyclone information for health professionals
The following websites and fact sheets will help you to be prepared for cyclones and floods:
- Prepare your home
- Prepare an emergency kit
- Prepare for evacuation
- Check your neighbours
- Pet emergency planning
Download the Get Ready fact sheets
- Emergency kit (PDF, 495 KB)
- Evacuation plan (PDF, 384 KB)
- Check your neighbours (PDF, 260 KB)
- Pet emergency plan (PDF, 218 KB)
Federal Government’s information for school aged kids:
Environmental conditions after floods and cyclones increase the risk for infectious diseases. Please click the links to read communications from Townsville Public Health Director Dr Steven Donohue regarding wounds exposed to muddy water and environmental bacteria.
Queensland Health Factsheets
- Black flies-a public health risk after a flood
- Restoring flood-affected domestic swimming pools and spa pools
- Ensuring safe drinking water
- Restoring rainwater tanks affected by natural disasters (including bore water-holding tanks)
- Health advice for emergency response workers
- Use and disposal of medicines after a disaster
- Food safety in an emergency
- Controlling mosquito breeding after floods, storms and cyclone
- Mosquito-borne diseases after a storm, flood or cyclone
- Dealing with mould after a storm, flood or cyclone
- Returning to a disaster-affected house or building
- Stay safe and healthy after storms, floods and cyclones
- Use of playgrounds and sporting fields during flood recovery
Bushfire health information
Bushfire health advice
Fine smoke particles can cause health problems like itchy or burning eyes, throat irritation, a runny nose, and illnesses like bronchitis. They can also aggravate existing lung conditions, like chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and asthma. Symptoms can occur for several days after smoke is inhaled.
- close windows and doors
- use fans or air conditioning on recirculating mode to keep cool
- keep medications close by if suffering a respiratory condition
- be vigilant in taking prescribed medications for existing lung conditions.
If you have a known respiratory condition such as asthma please have your regular medication at hand and see your GP if you do not feel you are adequately prepared.
Residents should call Triple Zero (000) if you are having health problems or believe your property is under threat.
Further information on bushfire health safety can be found at:
General bushfire health information
Queensland Health’s Health Protection Branch has developed the following factsheets in response to the current ongoing bushfire situation in Queensland.
The fact sheets include:
- Masks and smoke from bushfires
- After a fire – cleaning up a smoke affected home
- After a fire – returning home safely
- After a fire – using your personal protective kit
- After Fire – Asbestos Hazards
- Airborne dust and health effects
- Bushfire smoke and your health
- Ash from copper chrome arsenate
- Bushfires and roof-harvested rainwater
- Fire retardants and health
- Power outages – using alternative fuel and electricity generation safely
Northern Queensland PHN would like to acknowledge Queensland Health for sharing these resources.
Information for GPs impacted by bushfires
View RACGP’s information for GPs impacted by bushfires here.
Mental health support for bushfire affected communities
Bushfires can have a significant impact on the mental health and wellbeing of affected communities and individuals.
The impact may also be felt by people who are not directly affected by bushfire activity, but may have experienced previous trauma related to a natural disaster, have loved ones in affected areas or are witnessing traumatic events through media coverage and social media.
There are a range of services available for people who wish to seek mental health support due to the impact of bushfires.
Visit www.lifeinmindaustralia.com.au/mental-health-support-for-bushfire-affected-communities for more information.
Advice for approved pharmacists supplying PBS medicines to patients in areas affected by Queensland and NSW bushfires
The Department of Health has issued emergency advice to pharmacists in areas affected by the ongoing bushfire crisis. Pharmacists should note that the following arrangements apply in areas that have been affected by the Queensland and NSW Bushfires and these arrangements have immediate effect and apply until at least 30 December 2019. Click here to read the information.
New Medicare items for health professionals to support those affected by bushfires
People affected by bushfires can access mental health treatment without a referral or mental health treatment plan from 17 January.
You’ll be able to claim these items from 17 January 2020 to 31 December 2021.
If your patient needs support before 17 January, use existing mental health treatment items. Your patient will need to meet the current eligibility requirements, including GP referrals.
Patients who are eligible may be:
- individuals or families who have been impacted by the 2019-20 bushfires
- responders or emergency management employees or volunteers who worked during the 2019-20 bushfires.
Patients in rural and remote areas affected by bushfires can also get Medicare rebated counselling and psychological support through video telehealth services.
Health professional Face-to-face services Telehealth services General practitioner 91721, 91723, 91725, 91727 91729, 91731 Medical practitioner 91283, 91285, 91286, 91287 91371, 91372 Clinical psychologist 91000, 91005, 91010, 91015 91001, 91011 Registered psychologist 91100, 91105, 91110, 91115 91101, 91111 Occupational therapist 91125, 91130, 91135, 91140 91126, 91136 Social worker 91150, 91155, 91160, 91165 91151, 91161
Patients can get up to 10 treatment services each year, between 1 January and 31 December. You can keep seeing them if they’ve used all 10 services, but they won’t get Medicare benefits.
The 10 services are available to patients with an existing mental health treatment plan (MHTP) under the Better Access to Mental Health initiative. They don’t affect their claiming limits under that plan.
Mental health support during disaster recovery
Mental health resources
It is common to experience a range of intense emotions following a traumatic event like a natural disaster. Some people may have experienced the event physically, and others who may be affected in other ways whether it be concern about family and friends, hearing about people’s experiences during flooding, or extra workloads caused by the adverse weather event.
There are a number of mental health and wellbeing resources available for use by health care workers, as outlined below.
The RACGP Managing emergencies in general practice: a guide for preparation, response and recovery contains a section focusing on mental health and self-care for GPs and practice staff.
ACCRM has a section on their website dedicated to assisting with minimising the impact of crises and natural disasters. It should help it’s members and their communities, in part, towards a speedy recovery to return to normal practice functions in the aftermath of a disaster.
Pharmacy Guild Queensland – Pharmacists’ Support Service
Pharmacists’ Support Service (PSS) is available to provide support over the phone to any pharmacist, intern, or pharmacy student who may be stressed in the current situation in Townsville and surrounding FNQ areas affected by the floods. The service offers a listening ear and the opportunity to debrief with a pharmacist colleague. Often in these types of situations it is after the crisis that people start to feel the impact and need some extra support.
The Pharmacists’ Support Service is available 7am to 10pm (in Queensland at present) on 1300 244 910 every day of the year. For more information: www.supportforpharmacists.org.au.
APNA – Nurse Support Line
Nurse Support Line is a national support service for primary health care nurses, providing access to professional advice and guidance. Call (03) 9669 7450 or contact email@example.com for assistance.
Nurse and Midwife Support is a 24/7 national support service for nurses and midwives, nursing and midwifery students, employers, educators and concerned family and friends. Nurse and Midwife Support provide confidential advice and referral, promote better health for nurses, midwives and students, and safer care for the public. Get help now and call 1800 667 877.
Other recovery and support resources
- Bush Support Line: 1800 805 391 (for rural doctors and other health workers)
- 13 QGOV (13 74 68): access and support to Queensland Government services (housing, water, education etc.)
- 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84): a confidential phone service that provides health advice from a registered nurse 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
In case of fallen powerlines
Call Ergon Energy on 13 22 96
For information on volunteering click here.
For insurance information
To stay on top of current situations in your region, please visit your local emergency management dashboard at the links below:
Tune-in to the Australian Broadcasting Commission:
- ABC Far North (Cairns region):
- Atherton 720 AM
- Babinda 95.7 FM
- Cairns 801 AM, 106.7 FM
- Cairns North 95.5 FM
- Georgetown 106.1 FM
- Coen 105.9 FM
- Cooktown 105.7 FM
- Croydon 105.9 FM
- Dimbulah 91.7 FM
- Lakeland 106.1 FM
- Laura 106.1 FM
- Mission Beach 89.3 FM
- Mossman 639 AM
- Mount Garnet 95.7 FM
- Mount Molloy 95.7 FM
- Normanton 105.7 FM
- Thursday Island (Torres Strait) 1062 AM
- Tully 95.5 FM
- Weipa 1044 AM
- ABC Far North (Cairns region):
- ABC North Queensland (Townsville region):
- Greenvale 105.9 FM
- Hughenden 1485 AM
- Pentland 106.1 FM
- Townsville 630 AM
- ABC Tropical North (Mackay Region):
- Mackay 101.1 FM
- Moranbah 104.9 FM
- Airlie Beach 89.9 FM
- Dysart 91.7 FM
- ABC North Queensland (Townsville region):