Reforming Primary Care in Australia: A Narrative Review of the Evidence from Five Comparator Countries Academic Article uri icon


  • The need for reform of primary care is driven by health system inequity, inefficiency, sub-optimal quality of care and outcomes. In Australia, there has been no systematic analysis of the relevance and applicability of international reforms of differing models of primary care delivery and the implications for addressing these issues in the local context. We used a narrative review and synthesis approach to analyse evidence from four English-speaking comparator countries (New Zealand, Canada, United Kingdom, United States of America) and one European country (Netherlands). In this review the term "primary care" refers to the system of health care workers (predominantly general practice, nursing and allied health professionals) who provide locally-based first contact care in the community setting. The existing international evidence does not support the adoption of any specific model of primary care delivery that is suitable to the Australian context. However, the evidence does suggest four key mechanisms that should form the basis of future reform. This includes the funding of GP services, quality and performance frameworks, stronger regional structures to support primary care, and investment in practice infrastructure. This paper provides an overview of the review methods and findings. A full report and in-depth discussion of findings are available from


  • Naccarella, Lucio
  • Southern, Donna
  • Furler, John
  • Scott, Anthony
  • Prosser, Lauren
  • Young, Doris
  • Swerissen, Hal
  • Waters, Elizabeth

publication date

  • 2007