The new Australian Primary Health Networks

In support of PHNs and those working with them, PHCRIS has prepared a new Getting Started Guide Introduction to… Primary Health Networks (PHNs) including links to:

  • key documents
  • individual PHN websites
  • material on PHN priority areas
  • information about commissioning and needs assessment
  • stakeholder views on PHNs
  • informative video sessions with experts.

To keep you up-to-date, PHCRIS has generated a list (updated continuously) of Tweets from Australian PHNs, where the latest comments can be viewed. There is also a link to find out what others are tweeting about PHNs, and where you can add your thoughts to the conversation.

This Guide, which complements the Government PHN website, will be regularly updated and expanded to reflect new developments. PHCRIS welcomes feedback on ways to improve content to meet the needs of the health care community.

28 January 2016

Source:  Public Health Research & Practice    Owning Institution: Sax Institute
On 1 July 2015, the Australian Government established 31 new Primary Health Networks (PHNs), following a review by its former Chief Medical Officer, John Horvath, of 61 Medicare Locals created under the previous Labor administration. The Horvath review recommended, among other things, that new, larger primary health organisations be established to reduce fragmentation of care by integrating and coordinating health services, supporting the role of general practice, and leveraging and administering health program funding. The two main objectives of the new PHNs, as stated on the Department of Health’s website, are “increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of medical services for patients, particularly those at risk of poor health outcomes, and improving coordination of care to ensure patients receive the right care in the right place at the right time”.

This paper includes three viewpoints, commissioned for the primary health care themed issue of Public Health Research & Practice, from the Australian Government Department of Health, the Public Health Association of Australia and a Sydney-based PHN.

The authors were asked to focus in particularly on how the newly established networks might help to integrate public health within the primary health care landscape.

The authors have pointed out the huge overlap between public health and primary care and looked at evidence showing the great benefits for health systems of collaboration between the two. Challenges ahead include a possible government focus on delivery of ‘frontline’ medical services, which may come at the expense of population health, and the complexity of dealing with all primary health care stakeholders, including health professionals, Local Health Districts, nongovernment organisations, research institutions and local communities