May 11, 2024

What Is Primary Health Care?

By Geraldine

Recently, we commemorated the 40th anniversary of Alma-Ata Declaration’s landmark declaration of 1978 which recognized primary health care as a crucial factor to achieve global health. But what exactly is primary health care? This article presents a functional definition applicable to individual patients, communities and the health services they require.

This definition emphasizes the concept of partnership. Additionally, it acknowledges that patients have a responsibility to maintain and strengthen the relationship with their primary care clinician; providing complete and timely information, undertaking reasonable preventive care measures when needed, following management plans/treatment plans as directed, as well as contributing to maintaining or improving their own health through personal responsibility.

Primary care clinicians evaluate patients’ health concerns, whether acute or episodic or long-term such as diabetes. If the issues go beyond their scope, primary care clinicians coordinate evaluation and management by other specialists or subspecialists as appropriate.

Primary care services consist of periodic health assessments. This may include screening, counseling and risk analysis as well as patient education. Furthermore, clinicians provide ongoing monitoring of their health status in order to detect problems at their earliest stages – for instance prediabetes – and develop plans to manage them or prevent future ones from emerging.

Health Promotion

A primary care clinician’s primary function is to advance population health by providing information to the community and coordinating with public health, social services, and other related organizations to address needs in their community. This may involve education on healthy lifestyle choices such as regular exercise, weight loss and smoking cessation as well as prevention of chronic disease.

Visit your GP regularly and they’ll keep an eye out for flu outbreaks or vaccinations that might be required in your town or school, provide timely updates about local health issues, and can serve as an invaluable source of support for you and your family.

As the NHS faces an unprecedented funding crisis, you may be questioning whether your care fees will be covered by NHS Continuing Healthcare. In this blog, we look at one case which went all the way to court over whether Pamela Coughlan’s care fell on either side of a funding dividing line.