National Primary Health Care Strategic Framework

Implementing the Framework

Page last updated: April 2013

Under the Framework, the Commonwealth, state and territory governments will maintain existing roles and responsibilities as described in the National Healthcare Agreement (2012) and the National Health Reform Agreement (2011).

With significant levels of funding already being invested into the health system by both levels of government, the intent of the Framework is to target activity that can be undertaken within existing resources from across the entire system.

Considerable improvements can be achieved through concerted effort towards minimising gaps in the primary health care system, improving planning and coordination, focusing on keeping people healthy and out of hospital. Funding for new initiatives is very limited and can only be justified when underpinned by evidence of cost effectiveness.

Recognising the different roles and responsibilities of governments and the need to take account of the particular challenges and opportunities relevant to each individual state, the Framework will be delivered through a range of mechanisms.

These include:

  • state-specific bilateral plans;
  • direct action by the Commonwealth or States, as appropriate; and
  • national action in accordance with Commonwealth-state agreed approaches.
The bilateral plans, to be agreed between the Commonwealth and each state and territory, will be the primary vehicle for implementing the Framework. Each bilateral plan will focus on identifying specific actions to address the issues of most importance to the individual jurisdiction and where the greatest gains can be made through collaborative action. The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) has agreed to the development of the state-specific plans by July 2013.

While the Framework primarily focuses on directing improvements for implementation by governments, it is important to acknowledge the essential role of consumers, carers, health care professionals and service providers from the public, private and non-government sectors, and to foster their support in the implementation of the Framework.

The Commonwealth and states will also work together to ensure the Framework is used to guide the development of regional level plans by Medicare Locals and Local Hospital Networks.