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A stitch (of primary care) in time

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Management of a patient’s immediate problem has never been the only goal of a general practice consultation. It is good that each episode of primary care is increasingly recognised for its role in a patient’s health trajectory and in wider community-level health. Primary and community care are powerful means for preventing illness or complications and protecting those at risk.

Primary care is the main vehicle for the Healthy Kids Check (HKC), which may be having a positive impact on managing child health. Thomas and colleagues, in their audit of the medical records of two Queensland practices (doi: 10.5694/mja14.00637), show that the HKC assisted in identifying problems in 116 out of 557 children, 3%–11% of whom required a change in clinical management. The HKC also spurred general practitioners on to consider aspects of a child’s health that it did not cover. Oberklaid (doi: 10.5694/mja14.01200) says that although the concept of a general health screen is intuitively appealing, implementation is challenging in terms of population coverage, interpreting results against normal developmental variability, and getting timely intervention for detected problems. Responding to parents’ concerns is the cornerstone for early detection and prevention, and primary care plays an important role in increasing…

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