Who is CPRG

Canterbury Primary Response Group (CPRG) is a collaborative group of health professionals and provider organisations tasked by the Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) to lead the region’s primary care emergency planning, response and recovery. It is headed by Dr Phil Schroeder, the Primary Care Coordinator (who will also head the Primary Care Response Team in an emergency). The CPRG meets regularly and issues updates to primary care providers as well as communicates with the CDHB and other relevant organisations in Canterbury.

A Canterbury-wide health response was planned in 2005 when the district turned its attention to the Avian Influenza threat. This was exercised in full when H1N1 Swine Flu arrived in New Zealand in late April 2009. Dr Schroeder and the team led the primary health response in Canterbury where there was widespread use of flu centres to both treat and protect the Canterbury population.

In 2010 it was recognized that further emergency planning was required for primary health to be of help in the event of other emergencies or natural disasters. Before being fully prepared for the task, Dr Schroeder and the Canterbury Primary Response Group were called to lead the primary health response following the February 22, 2011 earthquake that devastated Christchurch.

Since then the CPRG has led the development of a comprehensive set of plans that would be implemented in the event of a future emergency and to help coordinate a whole-of-health response should it be required. The CPRG Emergency Plan can be found here.

Our goals

CPRG’s goals:

  • To establish a collaborative and coordinated emergency response by General Practice, Community Pharmacies, Community Nursing and other Primary Health Care Providers within the Canterbury region.
  • To provide coordinated community health services in support of the CDHB.
  • To work with the CDHB in the restoration of population health.
  • To enhance resilience and the ability to maintain primary and community health services following any major health emergency.

The CPRG team

Canterbury Primary Response Group consists of a core group of clinicians and managers to support the planning and implementation of an emergency response in Canterbury. In an emergency event, the wider Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) may be activated. The EOC is supported by Pegasus Health, Rural Canterbury PHO, and Christchurch PHO.

Dr Phil Schroeder

Primary Care Coordinator

Dr Phil Schroeder is a general practitioner with over 26 years’ experience as a rural GP initiating general practice services in the township of Rolleston, 20 kilometres south of Christchurch. He became involved with the Canterbury-wide health response when, in 2005, the district turned its attention to the H5N1 Avian Influenza threat. He has led the primary health response across Canterbury since 2009.

Dr Kim Burgess

Primary Care Coordinator

Dr Kim Burgess is a general practitioner with over 34 years’ experience as well as having completed a diploma in public health. She is clinical leader for Population Health and Child Health at Pegasus Health. Kim has been involved with CPRG since its inception, contributing a clinical overview to all decision making. Her experience includes involvement with the H1N1 2009 pandemic and then supporting the primary care coordinator role during the 2010 and 2011 seismic events. 

Graeme McColl

Strategist, Member World Association of Disaster and Emergency Medicine (WADEM)

Now semi-retired, Graeme has had over 15 years in health emergency management covering the South Island. Between 2005 and 2010 Graeme was employed by the Ministry of Health as an Emergency Management Advisor. He filled key response roles for the Ministry of Health during the Swine Flu pandemic in 2009, the Pacific tsunamis in 2009 and 2010, and the 2010 and 2011 Canterbury earthquakes, when he served as a contact between Canterbury District Health Board and the Ministry of Health. He has long been involved in preparing and delivering emergency management training to emergency services.

Graeme’s health career was preceded by 28 years of service in the NZ Police, retiring at the rank of Superintendent. He has advised on operational planning and command to senior Police courses in New Zealand and Australia.

Kelly Robertson

Nursing Advisor

Kelly is a Registered Nurse, with over 42 years’ experience working in both the secondary and primary health care sectors. She is currently the Nursing Advisor for CPRG. For the past 14 years she has been part of the emergency preparedness journey for primary care – starting with the SARS scare of 2003, the early pandemic planning for the H5N1 Avian Influenza threat, and then was part of the planning and leadership team at the central Flu Centre for the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. During the 2010-2011 and 2016 seismic events she played a coordination role with CPRG for the response and ongoing recovery phases.

Gareth Frew

Pharmacy Advisor

Gareth is the Clinical Leader for Canterbury Community Pharmacy Group, an organization tasked with developing and delivering enhanced pharmacy services in the community. Gareth has ten years’ pharmacy experience across a range of primary and secondary care roles. He joined CPRG in 2014 and brings his unique experience of the 2011 earthquake as a pharmacist on duty at Life Pharmacy at The Palms Shopping Centre.

Bill Eschenbach

Rural Liaison

Bill provides a strong rural perspective to CPRG. As Chief Executive of Rural Canterbury PHO, Bill has extensive emergency planning, response and recovery experience. He brings strong cross-system linkages and rural primary care knowledge.

Carol Glover

Rural Liaison

Carol is Rural Health Manager for Pegasus Health with over 25 years’ experience working in a variety of roles across primary and secondary services within the health sector in Canterbury and on the West Coast. Carol joined CPRG in November 2016 immediately after the Hurunui-Kaikoura earthquake. Carol is passionate about rural general practice and prior to working at Pegasus Health she managed a large rural general practice in north Canterbury.

Deborah Callahan

EOC Support Coordinator

Deborah has been working in primary care emergency planning since 2013.  Her role in CPRG evolved after the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake response where she was one of the Logistics managers. Since then she has been supporting the development of an organised primary care-led Emergency Operations Centre. The role supports planning by CPRG and facilitates interaction between CPRG, the EOC site, Christchurch PHO, Pegasus and Rural Canterbury PHOs, and the Canterbury District Health Board.

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