The Australasian Association for Academic Primary Care Inc

i2P is interested in promoting primary health care through community pharmacy or pharmacist collaboration with GP’s.
We recently came across this website The Australasian Association for Academic Primary Care Inc which describes an organisation we had not heard of before.
Given that the focus is on primary health care and is obviously designed to support and provide research for GP-led primary health initiatives, we were wondering whether any academic pharmacists had been invited to join, or are proposing to join.

I was interested to note the following statement which appears in the About Us section of their website:
“The breadth of academic endeavour and the multidisciplinary nature of primary care were recognised by AAAGP in 2012 with the organisation changing its name to the Australian Association for Academic Primary Care.”
The Australian Association for Academic General Practice (AAAGP) was the original name for the organisation founded in 1983 and later re-named in 2001, again in 2012 and once more in 2014 to embrace New Zealand.

As pharmacists have been heavily into primary health care for as long as I can remember I was wondering whether 2012 was the year that this organisation might have discovered the actual activities of community pharmacists, given that it was actually founded in 1983.

Given also that the current theme for primary health care involves the word “collaboration” I believe that pharmacist academics need to be part of this organisation and that work that is second nature to community pharmacists be recognised as a major component of primary health care.
The organisation is currently trying to recruit primary health care academics from all backgrounds, but I was unable to detect the word “pharmacist” within the site or on its published member’s list, so a cultural overhaul would seem necessary in order to welcome a wider grouping of primary health care perspectives and be receptive to appropriate change and collaboration.
It may be coincidental, but around the time the organisation commenced there seemed to be a campaign aimed at making pharmacy “invisible” in the primary health care spectrum orchestrated by all primary health care groups dominated by doctors.

Recent claims by GP organisations stating primary health care should be GP-led ignores what is the current reality.
Surely what they really mean is that primary health care segments should be managed by the health professions to the level of their competence, with GP’s receiving referrals for the more complex cases?

If the intent is that patients should have GP’s as the first point of contact and that referrals be made out to other health professionals ignores the historical precedents that GP’s simply invent new doctor-controlled people like pharmacologists and physician assistants, rather than truly collaborate.

This type of model increases the workload of GP’s and also is a costly model, driving up patient costs.
If it is designed to become a capitation model, more delegation to other health professions may occur, because if GP-managed, their earnings become what is left over and that  model encourages delegation.

Obviously there is a lot more debate to happen on the ultimate shape of how primary health care will be delivered, and hopefully pharmacist leadership organisations will be part of that debate, along with academic pharmacists.

If primary health care is to be delivered efficiently and economically, two segments of community pharmacy initiative should be acknowledged and accepted – the Self Care initiative, which is a program promoted by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA), and the Minor Ailments Program, an initiative by the Pharmacy Guild of Australia (PGA)

The latter program is opposed by GP’s saying that it fractures the whole picture of primary health care.
That is not a good leadership position by GP’s, from a pharmacy perspective.
It appears the conversation still has a long way to run.
The following history appears on the AAAPC website.

AAAPC was incorporated on 25 October 2001 under the Associations Incorporation Act 1981- No. A0041763V.

AAAPC was founded in 1983 as the Australian Association for Academic General Practice (AAAGP) with 44 inaugural members under the leadership of the first president, Professor Neil Carson.
The original aims of the organisation were to: advance the discipline of academic general practice through the promotion of scholarship and innovation in research and medical education: and to represent the University Departments of General Practice where the majority of senior researchers were based.

AAAGP helped to put academics from departments around Australia in touch with each other and this was enhanced from 1986 on with the publication of a regular newsletter. AAAGP also developed a role in advocacy to promote general practice based education and research.
The first example was a submission to the Commonwealth Board of Inquiry into Medical Education and Medical Research in 1988.  
A key objective was to develop capacity in academic general practice research and education and in 1990 AAAGP supported the publication of the first review of academic general practice in Australian medical schools.
This advocacy work has continued since.
More recent examples are a submission to the McKeon Review of Health and Medical Research and the Horvath Review of Medicare Locals.

Through the 1990s, AAAGP worked in collaboration with the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners to promote academic sessions at the College’s Annual Scientific Meetings.
With the establishment of the Primary Health Care Research and Information Service (PHCRIS) and the advent of annual Primary Health Care Research Conferences, AAAGP established a close working relationship with PHCRIS focussed around the annual conference.  
This involves input into the conference organising committee, AAAPC members reviewing abstracts, the AAAPC most distinguished paper award and an AAAPC plenary session where the most distinguished paper is presented. 
The value of the award was enhanced in 2013 through collaboration with the United Kingdom Society for Academic Primary Care (SAPC) where the award winner is subsidised to attend and present at the SAPC conference.  
Since 2000 AAAPC has also provided an annual travelling fellowship which supports a member of the organisation to travel for academic exchange.  
In 2008 the organisation created the annual Bridges-Webb award which recognises an AAAPC member who has made an international standard teaching and/or research contribution in the discipline.

The breadth of academic endeavour and the multidisciplinary nature of primary care were recognised by AAAGP in 2012 with the organisation changing its name to the Australian Association for Academic Primary Care.
This also signalled the value the organisation placed on the growing number of non-medical members and their contribution to the academic development of primary care. After a number of years of discussion and exchange with New Zealand primary care academics, AAAPC further expanded its scope in 2014 with the organisation becoming the Australasian Association for Academic Primary Care.

The benefits were seen as: cross fertilisation of ideas; development of academic collaborations; expansion of the critical mass of primary care academics and therefore ability to advocate on our own behalf; increase in the potential pool of reviewers for awards; and becoming an international organisation.

Throughout its history the aims of AAAPC have remained broadly consistent. These are currently framed as promoting and developing the discipline of general practice and primary care through: encouraging originality, questioning and exploration of ideas within teaching and research environment; providing a forum for exchange of information and ideas; encouraging shared academic activities; fostering and supporting career development in academic general practice and primary care; and supporting the continuing development of academic general practice and primary care.

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