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Original Research

Re-orienting a remote acute care model towards a primary health care approach: key enablers

Submitted: 27 November 2013
Revised: 10 November 2014
Accepted: 28 February 2015
Published: 20 July 2015

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Author(s) : Carroll V, Reeve CA, Humphreys JS, Wakerman J, Carter M.

Carole ReeveJohn HumphreysJohn Wakerman

Citation: Carroll V, Reeve CA, Humphreys JS, Wakerman J, Carter M.  Re-orienting a remote acute care model towards a primary health care approach: key enablers. Rural and Remote Health (Internet) 2015; 15: 2942. Available: (Accessed 20 October 2017)


Introduction:  The objective of this study was to identify the key enablers of change in re-orienting a remote acute care model to comprehensive primary healthcare delivery. The setting of the study was a 12-bed hospital in Fitzroy Crossing, Western Australia.
Methods:  Individual key informant, in-depth interviews were completed with five of six identified senior leaders involved in the development of the Fitzroy Valley Health Partnership. Interviews were recorded and transcripts were thematically analysed by two investigators for shared views about the enabling factors strengthening primary healthcare delivery in a remote region of Australia.
Results:  Participants described the establishment of a culturally relevant primary healthcare service, using a community-driven, ‘bottom up’ approach characterised by extensive community participation. The formal partnership across the government and community controlled health services was essential, both to enable change to occur and to provide sustainability in the longer term. A hierarchy of major themes emerged. These included community participation, community readiness and desire for self-determination; linkages in the form of a government community controlled health service partnership; leadership; adequate infrastructure; enhanced workforce supply; supportive policy; and primary healthcare funding.
Conclusions:  The strong united leadership shown by the community and the health service enabled barriers to be overcome and it maximised the opportunities provided by government policy changes. The concurrent alignment around a common vision enabled implementation of change. The key principle learnt from this study is the importance of community and health service relationships and local leadership around a shared vision for the re-orientation of community health services.

Key words: Aboriginal health, community participation, enabling change, healthcare reform, primary health care.

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