Jane Gunn is Chair of Primary Care Research and Head of the Department of General Practice at the University of Melbourne, Australia
Primary care in Australia
What do populations need?
Populations need a fair health care system that reduces the current inequities seen in the health of the population. Australia needs a health care system that focuses on prevention in addition to treatment and care. In particular, we need to improve the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Populations deserve a strong primary health care system in the community for "first contact" care that builds upon the strengths of existing general practice. ...continue reading →
Baukje (Bo) Miedema is Professor and Director of Research at the Dalhousie University Family Medicine Teaching Unit and Adjunct Professor in the Sociology Department, University of New Brunswick
“The constitution” of primary health internationally, as a core component of the structure of health, care can be traced back to the Declaration of Alma-Ata (1978), even though its origins go much further back in time: 1941 in the Netherlands and 1948 in the United Kingdom. The Declaration states that governments have to be responsible for the health of their people. Primary health care is seen as an important vehicle to deliver health care to the population, and is defined as care that “addresses the main health problems in the community, providing promotive, preventative, curative and rehabilitative services accordingly.” The Declaration of Alma-Ata also states that by the year 2000 there should be “health for all.” ...continue reading →
Grant Russell is a primary care clinician and health services researcher, as well as Head of School of Primary Health Care, Director of the Southern Academic Primary Care Research Unit (SAPCRU) and Professor of General Practice Research at Monash University in Australia. He spent 6 years working in Ontario, Canada
A CMAJ editorial once, famously, described Canada as being the ‘country of perpetual pilot projects’. “Pilotomania” is nowhere better seen than in Canada’s long running experimentation with models of delivering primary care. Given that experiments need some sort of professional interpretation, in 2007 the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation (as it was then) commissioned our team at the University of Ottawa (where I was working at the time) to review Canada’s primary care research capacity. Our report: Mapping the future of primary health care research in Canada, allowed us to unpack what turned out to be a fragile enterprise.
We were particularly struck by the challenges facing the primary care research workforce. Many researchers were isolated, especially those working outside nursing schools or Departments of Family Medicine. While islands of innovation existed, there was little sense of a sustainable system for primary care research and development.