Every good thing finally comes to an end. My Churchill journey was lots of hard work but incredibly rewarding. I have made new friends, cemented contacts around the world and changed my outlook on many things. A big thank you to everyone I met along the way! Your insights and hospitality were so appreciated. In many ways my travels and documentation phase are over but the journey is just beginning.
This is because I saw so many eye opening approaches. The study tour also affirmed some core beliefs and practices. My commitment to fostering a better primary care system in Australia is larger than ever before. My work will be enriched by drawing on the stories of those many people around the world who have decided to make a break with tradition and make a difference. Stamina, perseverance, courage, taking occasional political hits, working above and beyond the call…these were all hallmarks of the extraordinary group of resilient leaders I met. None sought personal glory. All were in it for the long-term gain their energy could provide for others, including their colleagues at work.
Visits to so many sites over nine weeks showed how a strong, central and integrated primary care system can benefit patients, improve the work life of clinicians and reduce the costs of providing care. It does not matter where you start as each context is unique. What matters is working with what you have to make healthcare accessible, comprehensive and responsive to patient needs. Placing the patient at the centre of our primary care system generates more creativity. It also galvanises political and funding forces which are fundamental to driving change. Sometimes even the change agents amongst us can become fatigued with the need for ongoing reform. However, the impressive results of so many of the new models I was privileged to study alongside our natural curiosity and compassion should be enough to gird our loins and commit to the course. Victory will be ours when even the “easy to ignore” have the same health outcomes as those in well off demographics. The rapid gains made in the US healthcare system in this regard were a reminder of how quickly even very difficult change can occur. The legacy of innovation and integration around a patient centred model also shows how positive the shared spoils of that worthwhile fight really are. To read the full details on this and other case studies please click the link below:
Can we deliver vastly improved chronic disease care in community settings? Absolutely! I suspect it will be through people like you who take the field and lead the charge! All the best with your endeavours. Feel free to touch base with ideas that reading this report triggers as there may be a coalition of the willing we can put you in touch with.
Tracey Johnson, General Manager, Inala Primary Care