GPRA Patron Professor Michael Kidd shares his thoughts on contemporary general practice, and reflects on the critical role of general practitioners in healthcare systems in Australia and elsewhere in the world.
A message from GPRA Patron Professor Michael Kidd
GPSN is one of the fastest growing medical organisations in Australia, ensuring that every student at our nation’s medical schools has the opportunity to explore the possibilities of a wonderful future career as a general practitioner. Our nation’s medical students are the future of our great professional discipline.
GPSN champions to medical students the vital contributions of our nation’s GPs to the health and wellbeing of the people of Australia. And it does so in a positive and fun way.
Now more than ever, Australia needs strong general practice.
International evidence is clear about the population health benefits provided by strong systems of primary healthcare, which includes strong general practice.
There will be a global focus this year on our work as general practitioners, as 2018 marks the 40th anniversary of the Declaration of Alma-Ata, which was adopted in 1978 at the international conference on Primary Health Care held in the Central Asian city of Alma-Ata in what is now Kazakhstan.
This declaration, adopted by the governments of the nations of the world, urged all governments, health workers, and the world community, to protect and promote the health of all peoples.
The declaration called for “Health For All People”; a vision to secure the health and wellbeing of people around the world by promoting health and human dignity and enhancing quality of life.
It was one of the first instances where the importance of primary healthcare was emphasised at a global level.
Member nations of the World Health Organization (WHO) continue to this day to uphold the vision of health for all people, now called Universal Health Coverage.
The WHO has recently established a new centre for Primary Health Care in Kazakhstan with the intent of supporting countries in their efforts to strengthen primary healthcare.
The centre’s work includes a focus on three key areas: integration of primary healthcare with public health services; improved coordination between primary healthcare and other health services, including hospitals and specialised services; and better integration of primary healthcare and social care.
I find the focus on improved integration with social care particularly interesting, as this is a key to addressing the rising needs of our growing population of elderly people, and to improving the support provided to many disadvantaged and vulnerable members of our community, including people with disability and people with mental health concerns.
We know that many people miss out on access to healthcare services. We know that we need to partner with those outside the health sector to deliver the sorts of services that many of our patients need.
This is an exciting time to become a general practitioner as we are being brought into this global movement to become champions of “Health for All People”.
I hope you will join us.