Roles and functions during disasters - for service providers

Refer to the State Emergency Management Plan for more information on broader strategic roles and functions.

SA Health Disaster preparedness and resilience

The SA Health Disaster preparedness and resilience provides strategic leadership and direction for SA Health in preparing for, responding to and recovering from emergencies and disasters that occur in South Australia as well as nationally or internationally.

The Office of the Chief Psychiatrist

The Chief Psychiatrist is an independent statutory officer who holds powers, functions and responsibilities as prescribed by the Mental Health Act 2009. The Chief Psychiatrist’s role and function in disaster management includes:

  • Promoting continuous improvement in the organisation and delivery of mental health services
  • Advising the Minister on issues relating to mental health and any concerns about care or treatment of consumers in South Australia
  • Creating appropriate public messaging in consultation with the Recovery Working Group, Local Health Network Recovery Coordinator and the SA Health Media and Communications Unit
  • Providing briefings for the Minister on mental health recovery arrangements
  • Providing advice to Local Health Networks on emotional wellbeing, mental health and suicide prevention initiatives.

More information:

State Recovery Office

The State Recovery Office is a unit within the Department for Human Services which focuses on:

  • Working across government and non-government sectors to increase the State's disaster recovery capacity
  • Providing advice and assistance to help communities to recover from a disaster
  • Providing advice to the Assistant State Coordinator/Chair of the State Recovery Committee who has overall responsibility for disaster recovery
  • Coordinating state level recovery functions
  • Supporting local recovery efforts.

More information: SA.GOV.AU disaster recovery

Emergency Relief Functional Support Group

The Emergency Relief Functional Support Group coordinates the delivery of practical advice and personal support services required by individuals, families and communities during and after a disaster. Housing SA is the lead agency for the Emergency Relief Functional Support Group, supported by a number of other agencies including:

  • Lions International
  • Disaster and Recovery Ministries
  • Rotary International
  • Australian Red Cross
  • Insurance Council of Australia
  • Uniting Communities
  • Foodbank

Housing SA establishes relief and recovery centres to support the community affected by a disaster.

  • Relief centres: provide short-term shelter, information and personal support services such as food and temporary accommodation.
  • Recovery centres: provide affected communities with access to information, financial assistance, psychosocial support and referral to a range of recovery based services.

The Emergency Relief Functional Support Group can be contacted by email:

Local Health Networks

Local Health Networks manage the delivery of public hospital services and other community based health services as determined by the state government.

There are five Local Health Networks in South Australia established as incorporated hospitals under the Health Care Act 2008. These are:

  • Central Adelaide Local Health Network
  • Northern Adelaide Local Health Network
  • Southern Adelaide Local Health Network
  • Country Health SA Local Health Network
  • Women’s and Children’s Health Network (Statewide)

In the event of a disaster, a Local Health Network Recovery Coordinator (LHNRC) will be appointed for the affected Local Health Networks and will be the SA Health representative on the Local Recovery Committee. Their role is to ensure that SA Health is fulfilling its responsibilities under these arrangements at a local level by coordinating health recovery operations/services on behalf of their Local Health Networks and liaising closely with the relevant Primary Health Network.

Primary Health Networks (PHNs) and Primary Mental Health Services

The Country SA Primary Health Network and Adelaide Primary Health Network were established to improve efficiency and coordination of care to ensure people receive the right care in the right place at the right time. The Primary Health Networks play a key role in commissioning primary mental health services that are locally focused and based on needs identified in the community.

In the event of a disaster the SA Health Emergency Management Unit liaises with the relevant Primary Health Network to identify which local health care providers would be best suited to deliver services. The Primary Health Network can determine how services and information required by affected communities can best be delivered locally through existing Primary Mental Health Services (where available).

Primary Mental Health Services

Primary Mental Health Services are non-government organisations that provide a range of mental health and general health support services across metropolitan and country South Australia. These services deliver a range of mental health programs to support GPs in the care of consumers with mental health concerns. Primary Mental Health services consist of multi-disciplinary teams including Psychologists, Mental Health Nurses, Social Workers and Occupational Therapists. Services offered in each region may differ depending on funding availability and community need; however may include cognitive behavioural therapy, interpersonal therapy and psycho-education.

Regional SA

Website: Summit Health
Adelaide Hills, Fleurieu and Kangaroo Island regions

Website: Country and Outback Health
Yorke and Northern, Mid North, Eyre and Flinders, Far west and Outback regions

Website: Murray Mallee General Practice Network
Murray Mallee region

Website: Focus One Health
Riverland, Limestone Coast, and Murray Mallee regions

Website: Sonder
Barossa and Gawler regions

Metropolitan Adelaide

Website: Links to Wellbeing
Metro South and Centre/East region

Website: Sonder
Metro North and Centre/West

Red Cross

Under state arrangements, the Australian Red Cross is recognised as a participating agency for the Emergency Relief Functional Support Group (ERFSG) and has a Memorandum of Understanding with SA Health. In the event of a disaster, Australian Red Cross (SA) may be activated to support relief and recovery efforts in a variety of ways, including:

  • Registering relief centre attendees via the ERFSG
  • Recording and reporting referral details of affected people, if advised
  • Providing information on the available amenities and support services that attendees can access in the centres
  • Ensuring a smooth and efficient transition from the reception hub to the assessment area in relief and recovery centres
  • Provision of psychological first aid in relief centres, recovery centres and/or via community outreach
  • Directing people offering donations and services to the relief or recovery centre manager.

More information see the Red Cross website.