Primary Health Networks

Primary health care (PHC) is usually the first level of care that people engage with for their health care and incorporates care from general practitioners, nurses, allied health, Aboriginal health workers, dentists and pharmacists. PHC is often delivered through private practices but can also include community and government health services, Aboriginal health services, local government and non-government organisations. PHC plays a critical role in prevention across the continuum from primary prevention, to secondary prevention and early detection, to tertiary prevention.

The Adelaide Primary Health Network (APHN) and the Country SA Primary Health Network (CSAPHN) were established by the Australian Government in 2015 to assist in increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of primary care services for people. The role of the PHNs is to support primary health care providers to reduce the risk of poor health outcomes in vulnerable patients and improve coordination and integration of care between PHC and hospitals to ensure patients receive appropriate, convenient and timely care.

Gazetted in November 2018, the Public Health Partner Authority agreement with the two PHNs provides the opportunity to improve the coordination of prevention approaches at the state and local levels, and for priority issues and populations. This Agreement has identified opportunities for collaboration for the PHNs and the Department for Health and Wellbeing (DHW) to strengthen the interface between prevention and PHC so that emerging issues can be addressed at a whole-of-population level.

Initial areas for collaboration include:

  • Health Pathways - an online portal that provides easy access to comprehensive, evidence-based assessment, management and localised referral resources for specific health conditions
  • Immunisation – improving  immunisation coverage for identified cohorts
  • Cancer Screening – increasing participation in bowel, breast and cervix screening
  • Data sharing
  • Local Government liaison – supporting local government to improve health literacy and access to health and community programs and services