Do divisions of general practice have a role in and the capacity to tackle health inequalities?
Furler, J.; Harris, E.; Powell-Davies, G.; Harris, M.; Traynor, V.; Rose, V.; Nacarella, L.; Young, D.
Australian Family Physician 31(7): 681-683
ISSN/ISBN: 0300-8495 PMID: 12143331 Accession: 045817390
General practitioners are concerned with improving the health of the community, and Divisions are an important structure through which this can be achieved. Any focus on health outcomes needs to consider what general practice and Divisions can do to reduce inequalities in health outcomes. We analysed 2000-2002 strategic and business plans from 78% of Divisions in NSW and Victoria, to see how Divisions were developing capacity to address health inequalities in the community through appropriate needs assessments, allocation of resources and partnership approaches. Thirty percent of Divisions discussed socioeconomic barriers to people accessing health care within their community. None used equity as a needs priority. Thirty percent specifically committed resources through programs for disadvantaged groups. Thirty-six percent used partnership approaches to improve access, although only 11% used a broad advocacy role. Divisions see socioeconomic disadvantage as an important issue, and some are developing significant multilevel strategies to address them, although significant gaps exist in the capacity of Divisions to undertake this work.