The objective of the audit was to assess the effectiveness of Health’s strategies for managing a communicable disease emergency.
To form a conclusion against the audit objective, the ANAO adopted the following high level criteria:
Health has a robust framework in place to prepare for a potential communicable disease emergency; and
Health has effective arrangements in place to respond to a communicable disease emergency.
Health responded effectively to the three communicable disease incidents examined. The department has developed strategies to manage its coordination role for communicable disease emergencies and collects sufficient information to identify communicable disease incidents. The systems and processes that support the strategies could be improved.
Health’s communicable disease plans do not clearly define in what circumstances and to what extent the department will become involved in a communicable disease emergency and Health’s administrative process and public communications could be improved. The department has made progress towards addressing approximately half of the lessons learnt through previous communicable disease emergency reviews and responses, but does not record or assess its progress towards implementation.