The purpose of this study is to look at the way general practitioners experienced being given the task by the Norwegian Directorate of Health and Social Affairs of providing follow-up health care for the involved persons, and to investigate what the GPs have done for the individual patients.
Immediately following the disaster, different ways were assessed for the organization of the health-related follow-up of involved persons after their return to Norway. The Norwegian Directorate of Health and Social Affairs, after obtaining views, including those of the Center for Crisis Psychology in Bergen and NKVTS, decided to use the ordinary health apparatus, and the general practitioners were given responsibility for the initial contact with the involved persons.
Since the general practitioners were given primary responsibility for contact with the affected persons, they are also an important source of knowledge concerning the follow-up, and needs for follow-up, that the patients have. Juxtaposed with the knowledge that emerges through the disaster psychiatry/psychological follow-up survey of the involved persons, this will be an important contribution in providing a holistic view of the disaster’s impacts and the resulting needs for intervention.
Involving the ordinary health apparatus in the follow-up of a disaster in this manner has never been tried previously in Norway. Thus, it is important to get feedback from the general practitioners on how the approach worked, whether they received the necessary information and whether they felt that they had the necessary knowledge and qualifications to carry out the task in a satisfactory manner.