Primary health care

The primary health care sector is a focus of the NSW Cancer Plan as it is central to the provision of integrated person-centred cancer care. Read how we are working with primary care to improve cancer control.

What we are achieving in primary health care

We recognise the vital role that the primary health care sector plays in:

  • cancer prevention and screening
  • diagnosis and provision of timely referral to cancer services
  • collaboration with multidisciplinary cancer specialist teams about patient care.

Primary health care professionals support people affected by cancer during and after treatment, including during palliative care and at the end of life.

Our work with primary health care occurs in some of the following ways:

Developing and supporting primary care partnerships

The NSW Primary Care Cancer Framework was launched in March 2021 and supports the role of primary care across the seven touchpoints of cancer. It highlights how the primary care sector can promote integrated care and improve patient outcomes.

Our Primary Health Care Advisory Group provides advice on key initiatives related to the primary care sector, including the development of the NSW Primary Care Cancer Framework

We continue to engage and work with all NSW primary health networks (PHNs) to foster collaboration and communication with primary health care providers on cancer control activities.​

Building a quality improvement focus

We have worked with primary care providers and key specialist stakeholders to develop a Cancer Screening and Primary Care Quality Improvement Toolkit. PHNs can use the toolkit to support local general practices to understand and promote the national cancer screening programs and undertake quality improvement activities to increase participation. 

The Institute will continue to build upon the toolkit to include additional relevant modules that support quality improvement initiatives for cancer control activities in primary care.

The Reporting for Better Cancer Outcomes program informs our work with PHNs to support local quality improvement.

Annual meetings are held with PHNs to review regional cancer control activities and explore quality improvement opportunities.

Workforce capacity is a priority and we are addressing this by providing support to GPs and practice nurses to undertake training and accreditation in well women's screening.

NSW Cancer Plan initiatives for primary health care

Across each goal of the NSW Cancer Plan, specific initiatives have been developed with a focus on primary health care, including:

  • strategies that focus on high-risk populations, including Aboriginal and culturally and linguistically diverse communities
  • patient information to support person-centred care and informed decision making
  • Canrefer, an online resource to guide primary care providers to give appropriate referrals
  • the development of cancer care pathways with, and for, primary care providers.

Progress of the NSW Cancer Plan is regularly monitored and evaluated. Find out more information using our NSW Cancer Plan Performance Index.