Te Uru Kahikatea in the primary health care setting
The public health workforce is not confined to public health ‘services’. Public health skills and experience (including the skills to deal with new and re-emerging diseases and mass casualty events) are required across the wider health sector, particularly in areas that have population health responsibilities like Primary Health Organisations (PHOs) and GP practices.
The most urgent priority is to address the workforce development requirements arising from the Primary Health Care Strategy.
PHOs, which have been established through the Primary Health Care Strategy, are responsible for the health of their enrolled populations and for the provision of public health actions. This entails providing access to public health training and development opportunities for the relevant workforce in primary care environments.
The development of PHOs is a significant opportunity for public health action to be strengthened in a primary care environment, but also poses challenges to the ‘usual practices’ of both the traditional primary health care and public health sectors.
A second priority for public health workforce development in this area is the need to strengthen the public health/health promotion skills of the primary health care workforce by providing support and input into professional training and competency development.
The third priority is to develop links across training and qualifications. In particular, integrating training for primary care into public health training and qualifications, and strengthening synergies between common programmes across these areas.
Te Uru Kahikatea – Objective Five
Objective five of Te Uru Kahikatea: The Public Health Workforce Development Plan (2007-2016), identifies the five- year priorities for wider public health workforce development, including the workforce in primary health care environments.
The five- year outcomes for this objective are:
- That appropriate high-quality health promotion/public health training is available for health promotion practitioners, planners and managers in Primary Health Organisations
- Health promotion/public health in a primary care setting is a core component of training and qualifications in public health
- Public health generic competencies are incorporated into the training and competencies of other health professionals (e.g. GPs, practice nurses)
- Emergency training programmes for health and other sectors incorporates emergency issues relating to public health responses
- Public health services participate in and promote emergency response training, including participation in exercises at a minimum of once per year.
There are a range of research documents to inform discussion on health promotion and health promotion ways of working in PHOs.
Winnard, D. 2006. Workforce development for health promotion and population health in primary care: Equipping people to ask the ‘right’ questions to achieve the population health goals for the Primary Health Care Strategy.
Winnard, D. 2006. Strategies to Strengthen the health promotion workforce in the PHO environment.
Winnard, D. 2004. Primary Care Clinicians Supporting Health Promotion Project: Report on stage one, consultation.
Penny, L. Macdonald, J. Duignan, P. 2003. Workforce Development to Support a Population Health Approach in Primary Health Organisations. Final Report for the Ministry of Health.