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Primary Health Care Strategy update

March 5, 2013

The Primary Health Care Strategy Working Group met recently to discuss the vision, principles, focus areas and enablers that would be included in the Primary Health Care Strategy. Pharmacists, with their expanded scope, now have a key role to play in primary care and will be affected by the provincial Strategy.  

The Primary Health Care Strategy Working Group is comprised of stakeholders from Alberta Health, Alberta Health Services, PCN and FCC administration, and various health professions. You can learn more about the group’s mandate and membership here (see page 2).

The group wants to share the following key messages from their meeting:

  • The Primary Health Care Strategy is intended to be a broad, transformational document.
  • The work supporting the Strategy development needs to build on the achievements and accomplishments in primary health care to date.
  • Key aspects that the Strategy should explicitly include are: the social determinants of health; integration of services and teams among all aspects of the health system; integration of clinical and social services; continuous learning; a people-centred approach; and sustainability. The Strategy will be complementary to Alberta’s emerging social policy framework.
  • Achieving transformation of the primary health care system requires a significant cultural shift to take place – from reactive to pro-active, from a medical model to a health model and a concomitant development of new competencies, both for providers and for the public accessing care in new ways: Primary Health Care transformation is about keeping people as healthy as possible.
  • Primary Health Care transformation affects more than the health workforce. The Strategy needs to recognize the contributions of the social, not-for-profit and voluntary sectors.
  • The Working Group agreed that operational issues will arise from system transformation; however, the work on the Strategy needs to be aspirational, identify outcomes, and provide a framework for focused change.  
  • There was agreement that all of the major primary health care initiatives underway need to align – Family Care Clinics, Primary Care Networks, Performance Measures and Evaluation and the Strategy – and work toward synchronicity on key primary health care principles, outcomes and directions  across those streams.
  • The Working Group provided feedback on the draft Family Care Clinic application kit. There was an acknowledgement that the feedback was provided as individuals and as members of this group. Feedback from the members’ organizational perspectives will be gathered through other means.
  • The Working Group recognized the significant amount of work ahead in developing the Strategy and agreed to meet for longer periods in order to accomplish this work within the tight timeframes.

The Working Group takes its direction from the Minister’s Advisory Committee on Primary Health Care.