Primary Health Care Reform

The Australian Government’s Future focused primary health care: Australia’s Primary Health Care 10 Year Plan 2022– 2032 is about strengthening primary health care as part of the health system and providing an agenda for primary health care reform over a decade.

Page last updated: 29 March 2022

Australia’s Primary Health Care 10 Year Plan 2022–2032

The plan covers three reform streams:

  • Stream 1 – Future focused health care
  • Stream 2 – Person-centred primary health care, supported by funding reform
  • Stream 3 – Integrated care, locally delivered

The Australian Government’s Future focused primary health care: Australia’s Primary Health Care 10 Year Plan 2022–2032 is about strengthening primary health care as part of the health system and providing an agenda for primary health care reform over a decade.

Primary health care in Australia

Primary care covers those services in the community that people go to first for health care. These are: general practices, Aboriginal Community Controlled Services (ACCHS), community pharmacies, many allied health services, mental health services, drug and alcohol services, community health and community nursing services, maternal and child health services, sexual health services and oral health and dental services.

The plan considers these services taking account of the need for equitable access to health care, the need to consider the social determinants of health and the need for more emphasis on prevention. The plan also considers the interactions between primary care services, specialist and hospital services, the aged care and disability care systems, and other social support systems.

Aims of the plan

The Government has adopted the Quadruple Aim as the overarching aims of this plan, to:

  • Improve people’s experience of care.
  • Improve the health of populations.
  • Improve the cost-efficiency of the health system.
  • Improve the work life of health care providers.

The objectives of the plan are:

  • Access: Support equitable access to the best available primary health care services.
  • Close the Gap: Reach parity in health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
  • Keep people well: Manage health and wellbeing in the community.
  • Continuity of care: Support continuity of care across the health care system.
  • Integration: Support care system integration and sustainability.
  • Future focus: Embrace new technologies and methods.
  • Safety and quality: Support safety and quality improvement.

These aims and objectives are supported by enablers: People – at the centre of care; funding reform; innovation and technology; research and data; workforce; and leadership and culture.

The plan was developed alongside the:

  • National Medical Workforce Strategy
  • National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2021–-2031
  • National Preventive Health Strategy 2021–2031

How the plan was developed

A Primary Health Reform Steering Group (the Steering Group) was formed in October 2019 to advise on the development of the plan and implementation of Voluntary Patient Registration. The Steering Group held 20 meetings, consulted on its draft recommendations in June/July 2021 and completed its work in providing a report to the Minister for Health and Ageing in September 2021. Read the Steering Group’s recommendations (PDF, 714.9 KB).

The plan is the Government's high-level response to the work of the Steering Group and draws on extensive consultations between 2019 and 2021. In these consultations, the generous participation of people with lived experience of the health system provided insights of fundamental value. Consumers, health professionals, peak bodies, researchers and a variety of other organisations and service providers all engaged with the future of primary health care in Australia.

Consultations on plan development

  • Primary Health Care 10 Year Plan Consultation Draft – October/November 2021
  • Steering Group Recommendations Consultation – June/July 2021

Targeted consultations

  • Private Health Insurance – December 2020
  • General Practice Advisory Committee – December 2020
  • Practice Managers – December 2020
  • Primary Health Networks – December 2020
  • Future focused – December 2020
  • General Practitioners – November 2020
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health – November 2020
  • Nursing and Midwifery – October 2020
  • Preventive health – September 2020
  • Culturally and Linguistically Diverse – September 2020
  • Consumers – August 2020
  • LGBTQI+ – July 2020
  • Disability – April 2020 and July 2020
  • Older Australians – March 2020
  • Dementia – March 2020
  • Allied Health – February 2020 and September 2020
  • First 2000 days – February 2020
  • After Hours care – December 2019
  • Rural and remote – December 2019

Foundations – Telehealth as the centrepiece

MBS telehealth is the centrepiece of the plan, representing a significant future-focused structural reform in primary health care.

Telehealth transformed primary care business models over the period of the COVID-19 pandemic, with GPs being paid for activities like renewing scripts and providing advice to patients over the phone, for which they previously would not have been reimbursed through the Medical Benefits Schedule (MBS).

  • December 2021 – the Government invested $106m over 4 years through the 2021 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook to make telehealth a permanent part of the MBS.

Foundations – Moving to voluntary patient registration with general practice

The second major foundation of the plan is a system of voluntary patient registration with general practice.

Voluntary patient registration reinforces continuity of care between accredited general practices and their patients, provides a framework of quality and safety for the continuation of MBS telehealth for general practice and lays the foundations for future general practice funding reform.

  • May 2021 – the Government announced investment of $50.7m in the 2021–22 Budget to prepare a system at Services Australia to support implementation for providers and consumers, to be known as MyGP.


To support effective implementation of the plan, an Implementation Oversight Group will be established in the first year with high-level representation from across the health care sector and consumer and stakeholder groups.

An evaluation framework will be developed by the end of the first year of the plan. Whole-of-plan evaluations will be undertaken at the year 3 (2024–25) and year 6 (2027–28) points, to capture progress and inform adaptations, with a final evaluation in year 9 (2030–31) to help inform next steps.


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