Primary Health Care Reform in Australia - Report to Support Australia’s First National Primary Health Care Strategy
Attachment A - Stakeholder consultation
External Reference Group (ERG)On 11 June 2008 the Hon Nicola Roxon MP, Minister for Health and Ageing, announced the appointment of an External Reference Group (ERG) to assist in the development of the Draft National Primary Health Care Strategy.
MembershipThe ERG, chaired by Dr Tony Hobbs, is non-representational, with members of the group contributing on the basis of their personal experience and expertise. The ERG includes a range of primary health care experts from around Australia, including a pharmacist, a midwife/birth reform advocate, a physiotherapist, a psychologist, a general practice nurse, a consumer representative, primary health care academics and strong representation from general practice including those with Indigenous, rural and remote experience. A list of ERG members is included in Table 12.
Terms of ReferenceThe ERG was asked to work closely with the Australian Government to develop the Draft Strategy, including:
- providing expert input on primary health care issues being considered as part of the development of the Strategy;
- reviewing and commenting on information relating to the Strategy prior to release for broader consultation; and
- assisting the Department in the analysis of, and responses to, the range of comments which may be received from broader consultation processes.
Modus OperandiThe Department of Health and Ageing provided secretariat support to the ERG, including high level administrative support for the Chair, Dr Tony Hobbs.
The ERG met 10 times between July 2008 and June 2009 with eight face-to-face meetings. At the earlier meetings, the Group spent considerable time canvassing the key issues that needed to be considered in the development of the Draft Strategy. Subsequent ERG meetings allowed discussion on the development of the Discussion Paper and the Draft Strategy.
To further inform the ERG’s consideration, a number of guest speakers were invited to attend ERG meetings, including representatives from the Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association, Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses, National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, National E-Health Transition Authority, National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission, National Health & Medical Research Council and the National Preventative Health Taskforce.
The ERG Chair, Dr Tony Hobbs, represented the ERG in many forums, including conferences and seminars. In addition to providing updates on the progress of the Draft Strategy development, Dr Hobbs also used these occasions to seek stakeholder views and input.
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Table 12: ERG Members
Dr Tony HobbsDr Hobbs is a GP Obstetrician at Cootamundra in the NSW Riverina district, where he has promoted an innovative model for integrated primary care. He is also the Immediate Past Chair of the Australian General Practice Network.
Mr Peter FazeyMr Fazey is a specialist musculoskeletal physiotherapist. He has worked primarily in private practice for 25 years and is currently a lecturer in manual therapy and the clinical programs coordinator at the University of Western Australia, Centre for Musculoskeletal Studies. Mr Fazey is also the Immediate Past President of the Australian Physiotherapy Association and a Fellow of the Australian College of Physiotherapists.
Professor Mark HarrisProfessor Harris is a leader of primary health care research in Australia with a broad range of interests, including health system development, especially integration of health services (within primary health care and between primary and secondary care), and the prevention and management of chronic diseases especially diabetes and cardiovascular disease. He is also a Professor of General Practice at the University of NSW.
Associate Professor Noel HaymanAssociate Professor Hayman is the Clinical Director of the Inala Indigenous Health Service in Brisbane. His interests include primary health care access and service delivery in Indigenous communities, especially improving the access of Indigenous people to mainstream health services and medical education. He is also the Secretary of the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association.
Professor Claire JacksonProfessor Jackson’s interests include health service integration, models of primary care and governance. She practises in Inala Queensland and has had general practice experience in urban and rural Australia and overseas. Prof Jackson is also a Professor in General Practice and Primary Health Care at the University of Queensland.
Ms Judy LiauwMs Liauw is a community pharmacist. She has been the Director and Manager of Westside Pharmacy, Ulverstone, Tasmania since 1985. Ms Liauw is a National Councillor on the Pharmacy Guild of Australia and holds other positions including the Chair of the Guild’s Women and Young Pharmacists Committee. She is also a Member of the Pharmacy Board of Tasmania and the Chair of the Australian Association of Consultant Pharmacy from July 2008.
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Professor Lyn Littlefield OAMProfessor Littlefield is a clinical psychologist with over 20 years of experience as a clinical academic and in mental health in hospital and community settings. She has devoted much time in working towards improving health, and particularly mental health and services in these areas. Prof Littlefield is the Executive Director of the Australian Psychological Society and the Honorary Executive Officer of Allied Health Professions of Australia. She was previously the Head of the School of Psychological Science at La Trobe University and the inaugural Director of the Victorian Parenting Centre.
Ms Anne MatyearMs Matyear is a general practice nurse. Her interests include optimising the role of nurses in general practice and increasing the contribution of general practice nursing in the formulation of public health policy. Ms Matyear is the current President of the Australian Practice Nurses Association and a Member of the Board of Directors at the Ipswich and West Moreton Division of General Practice.
Mr Mitch MesserMr Messer has made a strong contribution to Australian health care over many years as a consumer representative. He is a consumer member of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee and a former member of the Governing Committee of the Consumers’ Health Forum of Australia. He is also a founding member and current Chairperson of the Genetic Support Council of WA (Inc.), President of Cystic Fibrosis Australia and Worldwide, and a Trustee of the Australian Cystic Fibrosis Research Trust.
Dr Rod PearceDr Pearce is a general practitioner who has been an advisor for the last 20 years to local, state and federal governments on general practice issues. Dr Pearce continues his involvement with many local and national committees including Australian General Practice Accreditation Limited, and Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation. He is also the current Federal Chairman of the Australian Medical Association Council of General Practice.
Dr Vasantha PreethamDr Preetham is a practising GP in Perth, Western Australia. She was invited to contribute to the discussion around developing a long term national health strategy at the Prime Minister's Australia 2020 Summit in Canberra in April 2008. Dr Preetham is also the Immediate Past President of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.
Professor Hal SwerissenProfessor Swerissen is an expert on health policy with an extensive research record in the design and development of primary health and community services. Prof Swerissen is currently the Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Professor of Public Health at La Trobe University and is also the Australian Institute for Primary Care’s Director of Research and Development.
Dr Barbara VernonDr Vernon is an Australian birth reform advocate with a strong interest in improved provision of maternity services, particularly enhancing women’s access to primary care by midwives. She is also the Executive Officer of the Australian College of Midwives.
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Consultations comprised a call for written submissions and meetings (both formal and informal) with stakeholders, including with senior state and territory government officials.
The Consultation Process
Discussion PaperOn 30 October 2008, Minister Roxon released the publication Towards a National Primary Health Care Strategy: A Discussion Paper from the Australian Government.
The Discussion Paper was structured around 10 proposed key Elements of an enhanced primary health care system and canvassed a wide range of important issues. For each Element, the Discussion Paper described the current situation and what this means for consumers and health care practitioners, with a focus on identifying major issues that would need to be addressed in the development of the Draft Strategy. The Paper also set out a series of questions to assist individuals and groups to structure their input and invited comment through written submissions, by the end of February 2009.
265 written submissions were received from a wide range of interested individuals and organisations, including professional associations, academic institutions, non-government organisations and consumers of primary health care, as well as state and territory governments. A list of submissions is provided in Table 13.
Stakeholder submissions were published on the Department of Health and Ageing website at: http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/primaryhealthstrategy-submissions. To ensure that the privacy of third parties, private contact details (eg, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses) contained in submissions were removed.
Other ConsultationA National Primary Health Care Strategy Cross Jurisdictional Group (NPHCS CJG) comprising senior health department officials from each state and territory, with experience in primary health care, was convened as a mechanism for consultation with the jurisdictions during the development of the Draft Strategy. The NPHCS CJG met on two occasions, providing a forum for high level consideration of issues being considered as part of the Draft Strategy development.
The Department also drew upon the submissions provided to the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission (NHHRC) and the National Preventative Health Taskforce. The views of stakeholders are reflected throughout the Report.
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Table 13: List of SubmittersA list of stakeholders who made written submissions on the Discussion Paper: Towards a National Primary Health Care Strategy is included below. Note that submissions numbers 6, 11, 102 and 114 were classified by the authors as confidential and as such, were not published on the Department of Health and Ageing website or made available to the public.
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