Introduction:The Canterbury Primary Response Group (CPRG) was formed following the threats of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and avian influenza worldwide. The possible impact of these viruses alerted health care professionals that a community-wide approach was needed to manage and coordinate a response to any outbreak or potential outbreak. In Canterbury, New Zealand, the CPRG group took the responsibility to coordinate and manage the regional, out of hospital, planning and response coordination to annual influenza threats and the possible escalation to pandemic outbreaks.Aim:To outline the formation of a primary health and community-wide planning group, bringing together not only a wide range of health providers, but also key community agencies to plan strategies and responses to seasonal influenza and possible pandemic outbreaks.Methods:CPRG has developed a Pandemic Plan that focuses on the processes, structures, and roles to support and coordinate general practice, community pharmacies, community nursing, and other primary health care providers in the reduction of, readiness for, response to, and recovery from an influenza pandemic. The plan could reasonably apply to other respiratory-type pandemics such as SARS.Results:A comprehensive group of health professionals and supporting agencies meet monthly (more often if required) under the chair of CPRG to share information of the influenza-like illness (ILI) situation, virus types, and spread, as well as support strategies and response activities. Regular communication information updates are produced and circulated amongst members and primary health providers in the region.Discussion:Given that most ILI health consultations and treatments are self or primary health administered and take place outside of hospital services, it is essential for providers to be informed and consistent with their responses and knowledge of the extent and symptoms of ILI and any likelihood of a pandemic.