Accessibility Tools

What is Primary Health Care?

Primary health care is the first contact a person has with the health system when they have a health issue or problem that is not an emergency. It refers to a wide range of health services offered by medical professionals in the community. Your local physician or general practitioner (GP) is a primary healthcare provider, and so are pharmacists, nurses, and allied health providers such as dentists and physical therapists.

What Does the Primary Health Care Setting Involve?

Primary healthcare is typically provided in a community setting, such as a general practice or dental clinic. Primary healthcare providers may work in community health centers, medical clinics, and allied health practices, such as podiatry and physical therapy practices. Primary health care can also be obtained through health advice telephone helplines such as NHS 111.

What are the Services Delivered by Primary Health Care?

Primary health care can provide a broad range of services, such as

  • Diagnosis, treatment, and care of individuals with health conditions
  • Preventing health issues
  • Promoting good health
  • Managing long-term and ongoing conditions
  • Early intervention

Primary health care plays a crucial role in advising and assisting you to prevent illness and maintain good health. Significant areas that you should seek advice on include:

  • Stress and depression
  • Poor diet
  • Physical inactivity
  • Managing and stopping smoking
  • Hazardous drinking

What are the Benefits and Challenges of Primary Health Care?

When utilised correctly, primary health care is very useful for managing a patient’s health and also minimises the financial burden on the public health system. This is partly because of fewer hospitalisations and less need for secondary and tertiary healthcare services.

Other advantages of primary health care include:

  • Increased access to healthcare services
  • Early intervention to prevent health conditions from developing
  • Improved quality of health care
  • Reduced need for specialist care
  • Focus on preventive health
  • Improved patient relationships


Primary health care is responsible for the ongoing health of their patients by diagnosing, preventing, and managing common health issues. A crucial feature of their work is making referrals to specialists as and when required. Primary health care is also in a distinctive position to comprehend and study the natural course of a condition, the family setting in which the patient is placed, and to treat and follow up on recurrent or chronic health conditions.

The main objective of primary health care is to improve the health of patients by providing easy access to medical care. It also focuses completely on the patient rather than on the illness of a particular organ, system, or disease. It aims to improve their entire health and well-being by resolving or preventing any health issues that may be present or possibly present.