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EHA : Annual Review and Yearbook 2008
Branch Presidents’ Reports Disease Control/Emergency South Australian Branch (continued) management Special Interest Group At the end of 2007 Ian Miller stepped down as co-convenor of the Disease Control/Emergency Management Special Interest Group (SIG) and Leanne Auricht stepped down as secretary due to her relocation interstate. SIG members thank Courtney Krake for taking up the position of co-convenor and Rebecca Dyson the position as secretary. The SIG and Environmental Health Australia (EHA) branch council wish to thank Ian and Leanne for their hard work and contribution to the SIG over the past few years. The financial year 2007/2008 was another busy year with many of the objectives set either completed or nearing completion due to the contribution and dedication of its members. The SIG currently has 50 registered members, which we hope to expand upon next financial year as we work towards increasing our regional Environmental Health Practitioner (EHP) SIG membership. At the beginning of each year the organising committee (Convenors and Secretary), in line with branch Council’s Business objectives, sets in place desired achievements the SIG wishes to complete. This year has seen some time consuming, complicated items carried over from 2007 nearing completion and some new challenges being taken up. This year’s challenges include: n Finalising Inspection Pads – While this is a carryover from 2007, the SIG is happy to report orders have now been taken and will be supplied by June/July 2008. n Finalising Inspection Booklets – This too is a carryover from 2007. These will be available on the EHA website so they can be easily updated and revised as needed from August 2008. n Launch of Inspection Pads – This was done at the 2008 State Conference. The SIG is happy to report this project has been taken on by National office with the aim of making the pads available interstate through a collaborative effort from other state SIGs. Feedback from National office and other states is enthusiastic with congratulations to SA Branch being conveyed. There is also the thought that our forms may be made available on eOffice. n Development of Outline of SIG for EHA Website – This project has been taken on by members to develop a profile of the SIGs activities and achievements. n Joint Development of Emergency Management Information with the Department of Health – The Department of Health has agreed to work with SIG members to complete and make available these valuable resources. n Improve and encourage Regional EHPs participate/access to the SIG – This project has produced some valuable ideas to increase regional EHP’s participation in and access to exchanging of information and support that is gained from SIG membership. It is hoped in 2009 all SIGs will have a combined day of SIG meeting so our regional practitioners can make a worthwhile trip to the city. n Address comments on legislation changes – This is an ongoing challenge as new and revised legislation is made public. In 2008 it is expected we will see the release of the Legionella regulations which will present may new challenges of which the SIG will provide a forum . This year also saw the Disease Control/Disaster Management SIG change its name to the Disease Control/Emergency Management SIG. This name change was to align with the naming of other state SIGs, and because the word “emergency” encompasses all emergency events. Emergency Management In February 2008, the SIG held a very successfully “Act Don’t React – Pandemic” Seminar. 60 people attended on the day that included not only EHPs, but also, Immunisation Network personnel, various Emergency services personnel, PIRSA and Department of Health officers. Speakers presented on the current thoughts, ideas and plans, how to handle difficult people in a stressful situation, and a health promotion campaign. Feedback was very positive with a call for further training in the handling of difficult people. For the first time we invited the Immunisation Network to attend. This was warmly received and the aim is to include the Network in any further relevant training. The Department of Health has also taken on our feedback and suggestion of establishing a working party to determine Local Government’s (LG) role in an emergency. All names we submitted for consideration to participate in the working party were agreed to. The first meeting was held in June, with representatives from EHA and Local Government EHPs, the Local Government Association (LGA), Department of Health Environmental Health Section, and Communicable Disease Control Branch representatives. While it appears the working party may only address LG’s role in a Pandemic, it is felt by all parties this is a starting point and can be extended in due course to encompass all emergency situations. The Emergency Management Course for Environmental Health Practitioners held in November 2006 and early 2007 was nominated for a 2007 Australian Safer Communities Awards. On 7 September 2007, EHA was presented with a Certificate of Commendation by Minister Carmen Zollo. EHA ANNUAL REPORT 2008 35