Issue addressed There has been a growing national and global focus on the need to address social determinants of health to better achieve equitable health outcomes. In Australia, this focus is now being embedded into state, territory and Commonwealth government health policies. In this paper I use the National Primary Health Care Strategic Framework as a case study to examine the way in which 'health equity' and other related terms have been framed within a current national health policy context. Discussion Using a critically reflective approach, I argue that primary health care and health promotion professionals need to capitalise on the inclusion of terms such as 'action on social determinants of health', 'health equity' and 'reducing inequity' through emerging national health policies, such as the National Primary Health Care Strategic Framework. Yet, there is also a need to proceed with caution. The way in which these terms are framed appears to deviate from the principles, values and ideologies on which they are historically based. The implications for contemporary health promotion practice in Australia are discussed. Conclusions Primary health care and health promotion professionals working in both policy and practice contexts are encouraged to engage in critical reflective practice when interpreting and considering the implementation requirements of national health policies that incorporate a health equity focus. So what? To build health equity in Australia, primary health care and health promotion professionals will be required to engage in the skilful reframing of current primary health care policy discourses relating to health equity during health promotion planning, implementation and evaluation processes.
- health equity
- health policy
- health promotion
- primary health care
- social determinants of health