Primary & Community Health
Primary health care refers to a broad range of health services most often delivered in community-based settings. Primary health care services seek to intervene early to maximise health and wellbeing outcomes and prevent or slow the progression of ill health.
Services are considered primary because of their:
- Point of entry: they are generally the portal or the pathway to other services
- Quantity: most interactions with the health system happen here
- Duration: people’s ongoing relationships with health services are formed here
- Centrality: these services are often a point of coordination between other services
- Proximity: they are often located in the community. They have a direct connection to people’s daily lives and management of their wellbeing.
An effective primary health care system is essential in improving the health of a population and reducing inequalities. According to international evidence, a strong primary health care system is associated with lower death rates, as well as fewer premature deaths from a range of conditions.
Victoria has a distinctive primary health care system that is comprised of services funded by state government, commonwealth government, private services, volunteer-led and community-based organisations. Community Health Services (CHSs) play an important role in the primary health system and aim to improve the health and wellbeing of Victorians, particularly people with, or at risk of, poorer health.
CHSs provide a strong a platform for the delivery of a range of primary health and human services including:
- allied health services
- child health services
- chronic disease management that includes support for self management
- dental health services
- disability services
- drug and alcohol services
- family planning
- health promotion
- home and community care services
- medical services
- mental health services
- post acute care services
- refugee health