Challenges of the New Zealand healthcare disaster preparedness prior to the Canterbury earthquakes: A qualitative analysis

Sultan Al-Shaqsi, Robin Gauld, Sarah Lovell, David McBride, Ammar Al-Kashmiri, Abdullah Al-Harthy

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7 Citations (Scopus)


Background Disasters are a growing global phenomenon. New Zealand has suffered several major disasters in recent times. The state of healthcare disaster preparedness in New Zealand prior to the Canterbury earthquakes is not well documented. Objective To investigate the challenges of the New Zealand healthcare disaster preparedness prior to the Canterbury earthquakes. Method Semi-structured interviews with emergency planners in all the District Health Boards (DHBs) in New Zealand in the period between January and March 2010. The interview protocol revolved around the domains of emergency planning adopted by the World Health Organization. Results Seventeen interviews were conducted. The main themes included disinterest of clinical personnel in emergency planning, the need for communication backup, the integration of private services in disaster preparedness, the value of volunteers, the requirement for regular disaster training, and the need to enhance surge capability of the New Zealand healthcare system to respond to disasters. Conclusion Prior to the Canterbury earthquakes, healthcare disaster preparedness faced multiple challenges. Despite these challenges, New Zealand's healthcare response was adequate. Future preparedness has to consider the lessons learnt from the 2011 earthquakes to improve healthcare disaster planning in New Zealand.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNew Zealand Medical Journal
Issue number1371
Publication statusPublished - 2013


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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