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Table 3 Policy and Practice Implications

From: How institutional forces, ideas and actors shaped population health planning in Australian regional primary health care organisations

Practice implications for PHNs’ staff and board
 • Strong governance and leadership in PHC require a commitment to comprehensive PHC beyond biomedical model of care and an emphasis on health equity at population health. PHNs need to ensure the structure, composition and visions of their leadership teams support such a comprehensive vision of PHC. PHNs need to recruit staff with expertise in public and population health who understand the dynamics of population health planning – training also required for clinical staff so they gain understanding of population health approaches
 • PHNs should consider the employment of strategies to maximise community participation in planning and decision making. Representation of community members on board and balancing clinical and community governance would enhance the effectiveness of population health planning in addressing health needs.
 • PHNs require to formulate or built on the positive relationships with PHC stakeholders including local governments, community organisations and community-controlled health services to ensure shared goals, joint planning and resource sharing in population health. These partnerships are vitally important to improve PHNs’ chance of success in addressing population health needs and social determinants of health.
Policy implications for State government
 • States require a strong comprehensive PHC policy committed to disease prevention, health promotion including action on social determinants of health and, curative and rehabilitative services in order to provide a mandate for and to foster effective partnerships and joint population health planning.
 • State government staff require a sophisticated understanding of comprehensive PHC principles and the mandate and resources to work effectively with PHN staff
 • State governments need to draw on existing effective collaborative partnerships to create stronger link with PHNs in planning processes.
Policy implications for Federal government
 • The Federal government’s political and policy vision to PHC need to be comprehensive rather than medically-oriented. This requires a strong recognition and promotion of principles of comprehensive PHC including actions on health promotion, social determinants of health, and health equity. The commitment to PHC needs to be explicitly reflected in planning frameworks and guidelines developed for PHNs to address comprehensive PHC.
 • Sufficient and flexible funding is needed to provide PHNs financial capacity and
 • authority to identify and respond to local health needs.
 • More investment in training of PHNs’ staff including clinical staff on population health and PHC is required to enhance the capacity and capabilities of PHNs in population planning, implementation and evaluation.
 • A Federal program of response to social determinants of health is required and should be guided by the recommendations of Senate select committee [47]. PHNs could then spearhead the national health sector response to social determinants of health.