Second National Sexually Transmissible Infections Strategy 2010 - 2013

6.3.1 Primary healthcare

Page last updated: July 2010

There is diversity in the provision of primary health care across Australia, however most is provided through general practice. It is a priority to ensure sufficient numbers and distribution of primary health care providers who proactively provide STI services in private and public practice. This requires recruitment, retention and training of medical, nursing and health worker professionals by various strategies. An exploration of Australia’s HIV workforce48 and HIV models of access to and delivery of clinical services49 provides some direction. This needs to include:

  • considering practice incentives and enhancements
  • strengthening training programs for general practitioners, practice nurses and nurse practitioners
  • considering alternative models of health service delivery and expanding the roles of the other professional members of the primary healthcare team, including nurses and health workers
  • improving the ‘youth-friendly’ nature of health services and expanding youth-specific services to improve the access of young people.
Reorienting services so they can better manage young people’s sexual health needs (including STIs) is a priority. These services have been shown to be effective and well suited to a multidisciplinary team approach, with opportunity for case management for higher risk clients. Consideration could be given to increasing the availability of genital wart treatment to support patient self-administered treatment. The advent of effective topical therapy presents an opportunity to shift much of the management of genital warts from the healthcare setting to the patient.

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48 McLean S & Savage J, ‘Australia’s Health Workforce: roles, supply, trends, recruitment and capacity to deliver HIV services’, background paper for the Models of Access and Clinical Service Delivery Project, Australasian Society for HIV Medicine, Sydney, NSW, 2009b, <http://www.ashm.org.au/default2.asp?active_page_id=168>.
49 Savage J, Crooks L & McLean S, ‘Models of Access and Clinical Service Delivery for People with HIV in Australia: final report’, Australasian Society for HIV Medicine, Sydney, NSW, 2009, <http://www.ashm.org.au/default2.asp?active_page_id=168>.