Primary health care is important to all of us. While our needs for services will vary from person to person and are likely to change over time, every individual will need to access some form of primary health care services over the course of their lifetime. The majority of the population will use primary health care services every year.
The primary health care system needs to be better designed towards supporting the patient, their family and carer(s) to be in control and actively supported in decision making regarding their care. It is also about creating a system that is easy for consumers to access and use, and helps them to manage their health care needs and stay as healthy as possible.
Referred to as patient- or person-centred care, this approach requires health professionals to consider the patient as an individual within a social network – where his/her experiences, preferences, values and needs are taken into account in the planning and delivery of their health care.
In addition to recognising and valuing an individual's role in decision making about their health care, patient-centred care actively supports and empowers the individual in their own self-care and monitoring.