Reports and publications (published elsewhere)

Evaluation of primary health care funding to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services

Posted on: 2 June, 2010
Issue: Vol 10 No 2, April 2010 - June 2010
Related to Health measurement Health services Policies States and Territories

The Office of Evaluation and Audit (Indigenous Programs) (2009)
Evaluation of primary health care funding to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services.
Canberra: Department of Finance and Deregulation, Australia

The purpose of this report is to provide findings and recommendations in relation to the efficiency and effectiveness of the Primary Health Care Funding (PHCF) program as administered by the Office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA). Primary health care (PHC) is central to achieving health outcomes and is likely to be a central element to the efforts of ‘closing the gap’. Given the increasing focus by all levels of Government on Indigenous health services, it was considered timely to evaluate the performance of OATSIH and its delivery of the PHCF as well as its systems for assessing the influence that the funding is having on improving health outcomes. The evaluation covered the period between 2003-04 to 2007-08. The PHCF provides monies to a number of organisations. The overarching objective of the evaluation was to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of:

  • OATSIH’s management of PHCF program
  • Program service delivery by Indigenous health services in improving access to effective primary health care services for Indigenous Australians.
  • Departmental process for assessing how PHCF influences health outcomes for Indigenous Australians.

The findings of the evaluation:

  • Since OATSIH’s inception it has been evolving toward a more efficient and effective organisation. It is more readily felt at the operational level but yet to achieve its potential at a more strategic and policy direction level.
  • Data issues impose limitations on the evaluations ability to provide a definitive assessment of improvement in access to services.
  • Existing reporting mechanisms i.e. Activity reporting, are limited in their measurement of health outcomes.

The imperative will be to focus on health outcomes and to align and understand the impact of activities on the ‘Closing the Gap’ goals. The challenge for OATSIH will be to assure itself that its systems for policy development, prioritisation, delivery and measurement allow it to meet those opportunities.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract

    scroll to the top