Joining up the system

Recommendation 10 of the Sustainable Health Review focuses on partnerships across the health system

There is increasing interest from both Commonwealth and State Governments in health system integration, in particular, the role of primary care and the 31 Primary Health Networks' ability to broker the necessary partnerships that will enable sustainable solutions to fragmentation and dysfunction. The Sustainable Health Review, an initiative of the Western Australian Government, is one such opportunity that aims to prioritise the delivery of patient-centred, high quality and financially sustainable healthcare across the State.

Leveraging our unique position as a trusted partner across the health system, WA Primary Health Alliance has played and continues to play a pivotal role in the Review, with the final report released in April 2019, facilitating the involvement of primary care and ensuring it remains central to the Review’s implementation.

Why a Review?

  • Spending on health in WA has more than doubled in the past 10 years yet outcomes in population health and acute care have not improved at the same rate. Without intervention, health spending is projected to approach 38% of the State budget by 2026-27.
  • About 190,000 emergency department attendances in 2017/18 could potentially have been avoided with treatment in primary care or community settings.
  • 7% of all hospital admissions in 2017/18, costing an estimated $368 million, were potentially preventable with appropriate care and management outside of hospitals.

Our Priorities

  • Driving a cultural shift from a predominantly reactive, acute, hospital-based system to one with a strong focus on prevention, equity, early child health, end of life care, and seamless access to services at home and in the community through use of technology and innovation.
  • Delivering a whole of State Integrated Care Partnership Agreement between WA Primary Health Alliance and the Department of Health WA to facilitate joint planning, priority setting and commissioning of integrated care, and guided by a 10-year State Health Plan.
  • Creating better outcomes for patients and primary care clinicians, with reduced cost to the health system and individuals.

Key Achievements

  • Played a central role in conveying the views of GPs, allied health professionals and primary care service providers which has been reflected in a cohesive set of recommendations that, if implemented true to their intent, will result in better outcomes for patients and primary care clinicians, with reduced cost to the health system.
  • Facilitated forums and face-to-face sessions for the Review’s Panel and GP stakeholders, the outcomes of which are reflected in the relevant recommendations of the Review.
  • Began to consider new financial models to support joint planning and co-commissioning, to overcome the barriers of Commonwealth and State funding mechanisms.
  • Developed a model for GP Urgent Care, in partnership with Department of WA and other key stakeholders.
  • Commenced building the capacity of general practice to manage overweight and obesity.
The 18-month secondment of our General Manager Strategy and Engagement to WA Health as part of the Review provided invaluable direction on primary care policy, the role of PHNs in integrating care across the health system, but specifically between the Health Service Providers, and to facilitate timely GP and primary care stakeholder engagement into the Review.