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Aust Health Rev. 2012 Nov;36(4):384-9. doi: 10.1071/AH11061.

The Bundaberg emergency response team.

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Metro South Health Service District, Queensland Health, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Woolloongabba, Qld 4102, Australia.


A major crisis affected Bundaberg Hospital in 2005 following the exposure of the concerns about Dr Jayant Patel and the subsequent sudden exit of the Hospital Executive. The Bundaberg Emergency Response Team (BERT) was created as an emergency intervention whose brief was, over a 6-week period, to maintain the function of the hospital in the face of the community's loss of confidence in the service; to find out what had happened to Dr Patel's patients and to organise appropriate care and treatment for them. The authors acted as the senior members of BERT. Serious events such as these are rare and there was no framework to guide the team. BERT quickly established processes to assess the extent of harm to patients and to mobilise large scale clinical and counselling assistance for patients and staff. The team also managed the local health service, engagement with the community and assistance with the various investigations being conducted into Dr Patel. BERT was considered by the community and the former patients of Dr Patel to be an appropriate and professional response to the situation. The experience provides a framework for responses to these types of situations and herein we discuss key points for successful implementation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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