Austraumaplan: Final November 2011

Section 1: Introduction

Page last updated: 30 November 2011

1.1. AUSTRAUMAPLAN is the domestic response plan for Mass Casualty Incidents of National Consequence (MCINC). The plan provides an agreed framework and mechanisms for the effective national coordination, response and recovery arrangements for MCINC resulting from trauma.

1.2. AUSTRAUMAPLAN acknowledges that the primary responsibility for managing the impacts of Mass Casualty Incidents (MCI) within their respective jurisdictions lies with the state and territory governments. Each jurisdiction has a mandate under state or territory emergency legislation for the prevention and, if they occur, management of emergencies and disasters including MCI.

1.3. For the purpose of this plan, an MCI is defined as an incident which results in a significant number of casualties with Major Trauma Injury (MTI). The absolute number of casualties may vary and, due to combinations of geography and severity an MCI, by definition, may have the potential to overwhelm local/regional response resources.

1.4.The principle premise underpinning AUSTRAUMAPLAN is that it will operate when a Mass Casualty Incident of National Concern (MCINC) occurs. An MCINC is defined as an MCI that requires consideration of national level policy, strategy and public messaging or inter-jurisdictional assistance, where such assistance is not covered by existing arrangements.

1.5. An MCI may transition into an MCINC when a jurisdiction’s response resources are overwhelmed (either immediately or exhausted over time) or the MCI has inherent complex political management implications above and beyond the routine jurisdictional clinical and operational management/response. Examples include the involvement of large number of foreign nationals or complex logistical implications related to the geography of an MCI. The Australian Health Protection Committee (AHPC) will determine when an MCI has transitioned into a MCINC.

1.6 AUSTRAUMAPLAN acknowledges that MTI may include severe burn injuries. The national management of severe burn injuries requires specific considerations for effective response and optimal care. Consequently in 2002 the then Australian Health Ministers’ Council (AHMC) (now known as the Standing Council on Health (SCH)), commissioned the National Burn Planning and Coordination Committee to develop a plan specific to the needs of severe burn injuries, the National Response Plan for Mass Burn Casualty Incident, better known as the AUSBURNPLAN (2004). AUSBURNPLAN has contributed to the improved national response and coordination for mass burn casualty incidents.Top of Page

1.7. That national approach in developing AUSBURNPLAN was also used in developing AUSTRAUMAPLAN. The AHPC at its March 2009 meeting, noted that the AUSBURNPLAN would be incorporated into the AUSTRAUMAPLAN. Burn specific considerations previously covered by AUSBURNPLAN are now contained within the Severe Burn Injury annex, Annex A.

1.8. The following critical consultative mechanisms underpin this plan:

  • the Australian Health Protection Committee (AHPC) is the peak national health emergency management committee with the authority to plan, prepare and coordinate the national health response to significant incidents; and
  • the Australian Medical Transport Coordination Group (AMTCG), convened by the Attorney-General’s Department Emergency Management Australia (AGD EMA), provides a nationally coordinated medical transport response.
1.9. The national focal point for health coordination of the MCINC is the DoHA National Incident Room (NIR). The NIR maintains lead agency status in the coordination of health assets, including hospital beds and personnel.

1.10 AGD EMA is the agency responsible for planning and coordinating Australian Government’s physical assistance to jurisdictions under the auspices of the Australian Government Disaster Response Plan (COMDISPLAN). AGD EMA maintain lead agency status for all multi-agency Australian Government coordination, including provision of medical transport through the AMTCG.