Over the years, you or your family may have experienced frustration in navigating our health system, which, while it provides world class care, can be fragmented, clunky and confusing.
Healthcare professionals and community members alike would probably agree they want a system that allows the person to be at the centre of their care and move seamlessly from one touchpoint to the next, regardless of where care is delivered or by whom.
This conundrum is at the heart of the structural reform we so badly need in our health system, which while under significant demand and cost pressure, still manages to deliver excellent care for the majority.
Plans for a more integrated approach to healthcare were captured in the WA Sustainable Health Review’s Enduring Strategy 4, Recommendation 10. This called for a partnership between WA Primary Health Alliance and WA Department of Health as the mechanism to enact this desired change. On a practical level, this has resulted in two outcomes so far.
The first mechanism is a series of Partnership Protocols between WA Primary Health Alliance and WA’s five Health Service Providers. These agreements commit the parties to working together to facilitate joint planning, priority setting and commissioning of integrated care to enhance health outcomes.
The second mechanism is the Primary Health Care Round Table, the first of which was held during the Sustainable Health Review. Facilitated by WA Primary Health Alliance, it had strong representation from primary care, in particular general practice.
I recently sat down with our Health Minister and Chair of the Primary Health Care Round Table, the Hon Roger Cook MLA and Director General for Health, Dr David Russell-Weisz to officially launch the next phase of the Primary Health Care Round Table.
This was an opportunity to review our collective achievements so far in enacting Recommendation 10 and to focus on our future aspirations.
From that genesis, and allowing us to build on the Protocols, we recently agreed with the WA Department of Health that our biennial Better Health, Together Forums will host future Primary Health Care Round Table discussions.
This will be an ongoing conversation with decision makers from across the healthcare sector including consumer and carer peak bodies. It will allow us to share experiences and values and make sure we look at opportunities to work better together.
It is one health system and if you are the service user, the customer, the patient, achieving the best possible care is what we are all committed to.
While the system is very fragmented, we have a great opportunity here in WA given our size and the commitment to bring it together, so it works for the patient.
This really is about breaking down barriers and looking at opportunities to improve care for the community, in the community, if that is the right place for that care to be delivered.
If you are interested in knowing more about the Primary Health Care Round Table, you can join the mailing list to be invited to our next Better Health Together Forum in late 2021.
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