Health policy in South Australia 2003-10: Primary health care workforce perceptions of the impact of policy change on health promotion

Gwyneth Jolley, Toby Freeman, Frances Baum, Catherine Hurley, Angela Lawless, Michael Bentley, Ronald Labonte, David Sanders

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    18 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Issue addressed: This paper examines recent Australian health reform policies and considers how the primary health care (PHC) workforce experiences subsequent change and perceives its impact on health promotion practice. Methods: Health policy documents were analysed to determine their intended impact on health promotion. Interviews were conducted with 39 respondents from four State-funded PHC services to gain their perceptions of the impact of policy change on health promotion. Results: There have been a plethora of policy and strategy documents over the last decade relevant to PHC, and these suggest an intention to strengthen health promotion. However, respondents report that changes to the role and focus of PHC services have led to fewer opportunities for health promotion. Services are struggling to engage in health promotion activity, while funding and policy directions are prioritised to targeted, individual behaviour change. Conclusion: The experience of PHC workforce respondents in South Australia suggests that, despite policy intentions, health promotion practice is much reduced. Our research suggests that rigorous evaluation of health sector reforms should be undertaken to assess both intended and unintended outcomes in terms of service quality and delivery. So what?: Health promoters are experiencing a contradictory policy and practice environment, and this research should assist health promoters in advocating for more government accountability in the implementation of policies in order to advance comprehensive PHC.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)116-124
    Number of pages9
    JournalHealth Promotion Journal of Australia
    Volume25
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2014

    Keywords

    • evaluation
    • health care reform
    • health policy
    • health promotion
    • primary health care.

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