Virtual Conference
Healthcare conference 2023

David Briggs

University of New England, Australia

Title: Health reform, governance, and commissioning in PHC: Australian perspectives


Globally, healthcare systems are moving to focus on the development of primary healthcare services (PHC), for improved access and equity of care. This movement is reinforced by the challenges of the sustainable development goals (SDGs). and ‘health for all’, value-based approaches ahead of complex healthcare and organisational arrangements. The Australian health system is complex with shared responsibility between the National government in federation with the States and Territories (provinces) across all the health sectors. While the Australian Health system ranks highly amongst OECD countries it has also been challenged with addressing the Covid_19 pandemic and official Inquiries into the acute sector, aged care. mental health and disabilities sectors to the extent that we are continually having health reform without necessarily achieving effective change. Primary Health Networks (PHNs) are a recent initiative of the National government to fund and commission providers to deliver PHC services to individuals and communities across geographically defined areas. They are established as independent non-profit companies but tasked by the federal government to ensure community access to PHC, sustain general practice and other PHC professionals and to seek evidence based, innovative approaches to delivery of PHC. This initiative requires and is meant to enable across sectorial, collaborative approaches, in a context of continuous learning, creating team based interprofessional services. It requires an evidence-based approach, sharing knowledge in networks of practice to deliver services to defined localised areas. It requires the art of sensemaking in management and governance to influence outcomes, capacity and capability building to sustain a health workforce. This presentation describes this initiative in commissioning in the Australian context, the innovation behind the governance and the operation of PHC services that traditionally operated as independent providers into collaborative networks of practice and services and developing a sustainable health workforce.


David Briggs, AM. BHA (NSW) MHM (1st class Hons) PhD (UNE) Dr PH (Hon.NU) FACHSM FHKCHSE is Adjunct Professor, ASEAN Institute for Health Development, Mahidol University, Thailand Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of New England, Australia. Past Editor in Chief, Asia Pacific Journal of Health Management. Honorary Editor in Chief, ASEAN Journal of Public Health, and Development. International Editorial Committee, Public Administration and Policy Journal, Collaborator, CPCE, Hong Kong PolyU Immediate Past President, Society for Health Administration Programs in Education (SHAPE) Director and Deputy Chair, Hunter New England Central Coast Primary Health Network. Professor Briggs is a Fellow, Life Member and Past National President of the Australasian College of Health Services Management (ACHSM) and Founding Fellow of the Hong Kong College of Health Service Executives. He was honoured with appointment as a Member of the Order of Australia in 2020 for his contribution to health management and education. He has had extensive senior management and governance experience in the public health sector and has had extensive operational experience at Chief Executive level of hospitals, community health and district and area health services and, internationally as a consultant in the Asia Pacific.