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    The current health reform agenda outside of the acute sector is clearly not about primary health care as enunciated by the Alma Ata. It is about providing GP centric primary care. The funding is about GP centric primary care. Make no mistake, there are fundamental differences between primary health care and primary care and those that scoff at the difference should read history.

    I find the reference to primary health care in all the current health reform debate, disingenuous at best and meaningless at worst. Any references to the Alma Ata are few and far between but when mentioned are clearly outside the context of any proceeding discussion about reforming the non-acute health sector.

    The discussions about health reform in Australia are about reform ‘within’ the sector and important as that is, it won’t reduce or slow continuing increases in chronic disease. Health reform should encompass the whole picture which clearly means addressing the broader social, economic, political, cultural and environmental determinants of health, not just the disease determinants. If the government is really serious about primary health care, then it should go read and apply the principles of the Alma Ata. It’s still not too late to get it right.


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