Primary care must be about health consumers, not systems

03 September, 2009

‘Primary care is not just about doctors and health systems, it is about health consumers. A new report not only focuses on consumers, it also seeks to improve primary care in areas that health consumers have been highlighting for a long time’, according to Carol Bennett, executive director of the Consumers Health Forum of Australia (CHF).

Bennett was speaking about the draft National Primary Health Care Strategy Building a 21st Century Primary Health Care System, released recently.

Bennett not only welcomed the new report, but commended the emphasis on achieving measurable change for health consumers.

The draft strategy identifies five ‘building blocks’ for change and four key priority areas.

Bennett said ‘the building blocks for change identified in the draft strategy reflect consumer priorities in health care. We’re delighted to see the focus on better integration and improved access to services, as well as measuring impact and outcomes.’

As the national peak body representing Australia’s health consumers, CHF’s submission to the National Primary Health Care Strategy called for a people-centred system that is navigable, affordable, accessible, safe and of a high quality.

‘One of the strong points in this report is the way it embraces community based service provision that is not just about clinical health or GP services. This is particularly important for people experiencing chronic relapsing health conditions who often need a wide range of services to meet their health needs,’ Bennett added.

‘The draft strategy, if adopted, will go close to delivering what consumers want and need in their health care. We look forward to ongoing consumer engagement on primary health care to ensure that the strategy really does meet consumer needs’.