When considering the delivery of primary health care in the community, some populations remain virtually invisible. While people with intellectual disability might seem to share few characteristics with refugees and humanitarian entrants, there are a number of difficulties that both groups share when accessing and receiving primary health care. Commonalities include communication barriers, difficulties accessing past medical records and the complexity of health needs that confront the practitioner providing health care. These issues and additional systemic barriers that prevent the delivery of optimal health care to both groups are explored. Integrated multidisciplinary care is often required for the delivery of best practice care; however, such care can be difficult for each group to access. In May 2010, the specific Medicare Health Assessment Item numbers for both of these groups were incorporated into a group of more generic Item numbers. This has resulted in a lost opportunity to enhance the evidence surrounding health care delivery to these vulnerable populations. This paper recognises the importance of health policy in leading affirmative action to ensure these populations become visible in the implementation of the National Primary Health Care Strategy.
Thanks Claire, Rob, Margaret, Peter and Nick.