Collaborative population health planning between Australian primary health care organisations and local government: lost opportunity

Sara Javanparast, Frances Baum, Toby Freeman, Anna Ziersch, Julie Henderson, Tamara Mackean

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    9 Citations (Scopus)
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    Objective: To examine the strength and extent of collaborations between primary health care organisations and local government in population health planning. Methods: Methods included: a) online surveys with Medicare Locals (n=210) and Primary Health Networks (n=66), comparing the two using two-level mixed models; b) interviews with Medicare Local (n=50) and Primary Health Network (n=55) executives; c) interviews with members of local government associations and Primary Health Network board members with local government experience (n=7); and d) review of 54 Medicare Local and 31 Primary Health Network publicly available annual reports. Results: Despite partnership being a policy objective for Medicare Locals/ Primary Health Networks, they reported limited time and financial support for collaboration with local government. Organisational capacity and resources, supportive governance and public health legislation mandating a role for local governments were critical to collaborative planning. Conclusions: Local government has the potential to tackle social factors affecting health; therefore, their inclusion in population health planning is valuable. Legislative mandates would help to achieve this, and PHNs require a stronger Federal Government mandate backed by sufficient resources and a governance structure that supports collaboration. Implications for public health: Improving primary health care and local government collaboration has great potential to improve the quality of health planning and action on social determinants, thus advancing population health and health equity.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)68-74
    Number of pages7
    JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
    Issue number1
    Early online date2018
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019


    • collaborative planning
    • local government
    • population health
    • regional PHC organisation


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