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Our first National Primary Health Care Strategy: 3 years on, what change for general practice?

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Achievements, challenges and missing pieces in the progress of this critical element in our national reform program

Our first National Primary Health Care Strategy was released in 2010, after 2 years of consultation, development and review. In keeping with the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission report the year before, it identified a strong and evolving primary health care system, anchored by general practice, as being “critical to the future success and sustainability of our entire health care system”.

The Strategy’s five key building blocks for reform are:

  • improving regional integration between providers and services, filling service gaps and driving change

  • more extensive and innovative use of e-health to integrate care, improve patient outcomes and deliver capacity, quality and cost-effectiveness

  • building a flexible and well trained workforce through effective training and teamwork

  • improving the sector’s physical infrastructure

  • a focus on financing and system performance to drive practice and system outcomes.

Three years on, the report card is mixed — there have been promising…