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    Dr Grant Russell

    The Australasian Association for Academic Primary Care (AAAPC) shares Lesley Russell’s concerns about the future of primary health care research in Australia. AAAPC is an organisation of over 150 primary health care academics from both Australia and New Zealand. members

    Much has been achieved in developing capacity in primary health care research in Australia since the inception of the PHCRED strategy in 2000. However continued investment in primary health care research is needed. In our submission to the review of the PHCRED strategy in April 2014 AAAPC made the following recommendations for future government investment in primary health care research.

    1. Provide PHCRED training awards at a variety of levels (PhD scholarships, post-doctoral fellowships and senior practitioner fellowships) administered through the NHMRC.

    2. Provide funding to support academically led practice-based research networks which can facilitate involvement of primary care practitioners and practices in research.

    3. Continue to fund the Primary Health Care Research Information Service (PHCRIS).

    4. Continued funding of a body like the Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute (APHCRI) – for the last decade almost the only funder of health services research in primary care.

    5. Give the continuing Centres of Research Excellence funded by APHCRI a specific role in linking with the broader primary health care research community including providing advice in their area of expertise.

    6. APHCRI should actively link primary health care researchers to the broader Australian research community.

    AAAPC made repeated requests to Minister Dutton’s office for a meeting to discuss these issues, but to no avail. We were pleased that Minister Ley’s office was more responsive and myself and the then president of AAAPC Professor Nick Zwar met with the Minister’s senior advisor in July 2015. At that meeting we restated the importance of primary health care research for development of the primary health care sector and therefore the health of the Australian population. We also emphasised the importance of the facilitating structures for primary health care research.

    As Lesley Russell points out, a decision on the future of the PHCRED is urgently needed. We urge Minister Ley to consider these issues as a matter of priority and to continue to invest in the future of primary health care research in Australia.

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