The results of this evaluation suggest a number of learnings which are not specifically relevant to the GP Super Clinics Program, but could be considered more broadly for the primary health care system.
Measuring Primary Health Care PerformanceMeasurement of performance is undertaken in health services and systems to determine the extent they meet expected objectives and outcomes, and importantly for determining the return on investment of public money. The primary health care system should be no different. However to date, the lack of agreement on measures which accurately reflect primary health care and its complexities have, in Australia, prevented this happening. In the absence of performance measurement, the ability to develop improved primary health care systems is limited.
Medicare Benefits ScheduleMedicare items have consistently been raised as barriers to implementing effective multi-disciplinary care. This problem needs to be addressed in the broader context of further primary health care reform across a range of platforms with greater linkages between the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) including its Practice Incentives Program (PIP) and other primary health care funding streams.
Role of Universities and CollegesThe capacity of the future primary health care workforce is largely dependent on the training of future health professionals. Partnerships with universities have been established by many of the GP Super Clinics. Most of the GP Super Clinics have provided clinical placements for students, and in some cases training for General Practice Registrars.
Currently these partnerships focus on universities or General Practice Regional Training Providers meeting their demand for clinical placements, with little evidence of any changes to their learning programs, and in particular, of a move to a multi-disciplinary experiential environment for students. Ideally, programs at universities will develop to a more sophisticated approach to learning across disciplines reflecting 21st century primary health care aligned with the empirical evidence. That this is rarely occurring, with learning still occurring in discipline-specific silos, is a missed opportunity for students, trainees and patients.