Primary Health Care Access Program (PHCAP)
|Australian Commonwealth Government
|Aboriginal Primary Health Care Access Program (APHCAP)
| | Health and Community Services
|The Primary Health Care Access Program (PHCAP) is a Commonwealth Government policy which is to be implemented in partnership with State/Territory Governments, the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector and ATSIC. It was developed in November 2002.
PHCAP aims to provide funding for the expansion of primary health care services in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities in areas identified as having the highest relative need.
|The Primary Health Care Access Program (PHCAP) is a ‘program of health system reform to improve access to and provision of appropriate primary health care services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at the local level’ (PHCAP, 2002). This will be achieved through an increase in resources and reforms to local health systems. The PHCAP operates in conjunction with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Framework Agreements. PHCAP will be implemented in partnership with State or Territory Government, the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector and ATSIC.
The key objectives of PHCAP are:
to increase the availability of appropriate primary health care services;
to create local health systems which are better equipped to meet the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities; and
to empower individuals and communities to assume greater responsibility for their personal health and wellbeing.
PHCAP’s objectives will be achieved through Memorandums of Understanding developed between the Commonwealth and the respective State or Territory Governments as joint funders. The following principles will form the basis for the Memorandums of Understanding:
‘Acceptance of a range of potential models for health service delivery, with the community control model preferred;
Funding arrangements between the Commonwealth and State / Territory, which include:
- Maintenance of existing effort and an increase in resources beyond that level in line with existing arrangements in the Framework Agreements;
- Financial transparency through ongoing documentation of available and additional resources;
- Potential funds pooling and other joint service arrangements; and
- In the longer term, reinvestment of acute sector savings resulting from increased investment in primary health care services to improved health care for Indigenous people.’ (PHCAP,2002)
|Following the dissolution of ATSIC, PHCAP is now administered by the Department of Health and Ageing.
The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) note in their Social Justice Report 2005 that PHCAP has never received adequate funding. Furthermore, they are critical that "[n]ot all zones have been rolled out and there are no plans to roll out further PHCAP zones in the Top End. Similarly, the Department of Health and Ageing has not provided estimates of the funding required to implement PHCAP up to the benchmark funding level in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities over the next 5 years."
HREOC suggest that although primary health care is a responsibility of the Commonwealth Government, the State and Territory Governments' responsibilities in associated portfolios such housing also impact considerably on service delivery. Accordingly, the funding shortfall must be addressed by both the Commonwealth and State Governments. (HREOC, 2005)