The academic basis of primary health care

Published on June 27, 2018   36 min

A selection of talks on Clinical Practice

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Hello, my name is Trisha Greenhalgh. I'm a Professor of Primary Care Health Sciences at the University of Oxford in the U.K. I'm going to talk to you about the academic basis of primary health care.
In this lecture, I'm going to do three things. I'm going to explain what academic primary healthcare is and why it matters. I'm going to outline the different academic disciplines and research methodologies that underpin academic primary healthcare. Thirdly, I'm going to suggest some new research priorities.
People often ask me what is primary health care, and the way I define it, I draw on much literature here is that primary healthcare is first contact care accessible to everyone in the community. It's undifferentiated by age, gender or disease modality. It's characterized by continuity of a clinical relationship over time. It's coordinated within and across sectors and it focuses on both the individual and the population or community. I liked this quote from Julian Tudor Hart who spent I think about 50 years as a practicing GP in a very deprived part of the Welsh valleys. He said, primary healthcare is doing simple things well for large numbers of people, few of whom feel ill.
So, why does primary health care matter? Well, I'm going to quote from the foreword to a book I wrote called Primary Health Care Theory and Practice which was published in 2007 and Julian Tudor Hart wrote that foreword and he began like this. He said in 1974, before a guest lecture that he was giving on primary health care, he was shown around Johns Hopkins Hospital in the USA and halfway along a long corridor he saw a roughly cut cardboard sign hanging from bits of string looped around the pipes and it said Department of Primary Care with an arrow. So, he says "We followed the arrow and found ourselves in the emergency room."