Wherewithal to hit health-for-all target

Primary Health Care Research and Development

May 10, 2002

Primary Health Care Research and Development asserts that it occupies an interdisciplinary niche that has hitherto been vacant, because it targets both researchers and practitioners. Rosamund Bryar, in her first editorial, sets out why she thinks primary health care (PHC) is essential for achieving the "health for all" aims of the World Health Organisation.

The journal's object is "to provide a forum for the publication of international interdisciplinary research and development in primary health care" and, as such, to disseminate evidence, information and practice of a variety of research methodologies as well as exploring the context of healthcare development. The editorial thrust is that the journal should be regarded as a symbol as well as a product of the evolution of PHC; it identifies the interdisciplinary challenge as being the fact that PHC includes many aspects: prevention, health promotion, education, clinical effectiveness, organisational and management issues, quality issues and policy development. The early issues carry material that matches these aims and scope. Both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies have been employed in this material, with the emphasis on qualitative.

The first four issues under review contain four articles, 17 research reports, four reports on development, book reviews and a useful calendar of events. Five accounts of networking also appear, a commendable feature that encourages the exchange of ideas and promotes collaboration.

The range of topics extend from pre and postnatal home visiting (by Donna Ciliska et al ) to the care of the frail elderly in the community (by L. Robinson and Chris Drinkwater). The terminology used in the contents is frequently confusing; some articles are in fact research reports and two papers listed under "research" are not research reports but useful articles about issues related to research methodology. For example, M. Morison, J. Moir and T. Kwansa reflect on interviewing children for the purposes of research into primary care, in a well-researched contribution that considers the influences of children's cognitive, linguistic and social development on their interactions with interviewers.

Under "Development", an action research study over three years by M. Sherratt, K. Jones and P. Middleton reports on development and evaluation of a welfare-rights advice and information service. The aim was to complement the work of the PHC team and to target those patients more in need. This is a good example of that inter-sectoral collaboration that is deemed to be one of the "pillars" for successful PHC, by J. Macdonald.

Christine Ingleton, in studying reactions to development of a community palliative care service, rightly reflects on specialist provision as well as the necessity for those concerned to establish "territorial boundaries". Attention is drawn to the possibility of conflict; palliative care is ranked as a high priority and, in the commissioning of services, general practitioners or primary care groups need to resolve their documented differences regarding both service adequacy and priorities for future development.

The aim and scope are ambitious and the quality and presentation need to be more uniform, especially if a competitor arrives on the market. Notwithstanding the variation in quality, the journal is innovative, comprehensive and likely to be useful to all those involved with the health of the nation, not forgetting public health psychologists and including beneficiaries.

Elvidina Adamson-Macedo is senior lecturer in health psychology, University of Wolverhampton.

Primary Health Care Research and Development

Editor - Sally Kendall and Rosamund Bryar
ISBN - ISSN 1463 4236 Online ISSN: 1477 1128
Publisher - Arnold, quarterly Institutions
Price - Institutions £92.00 Individuals £38.00

Register to continue

Why register?

  • Registration is free and only takes a moment
  • Once registered, you can read 3 articles a month
  • Sign up for our newsletter
Please Login or Register to read this article.