Health system

Western Australia’s health system is made up of services provided by government and private health care providers. The health services are divided into three main categories:

  • primary care
  • secondary care
  • tertiary care (hospital care) [31982].

Primary health care usually involves the first level of health care that a person encounters [31982][31401]. It includes a broad range of services including health promotion and prevention, screening, and treatment and management of conditions. Primary health care providers include General Practitioners (GPs), nurses, allied health providers (such as dietitians, podiatrists and physiotherapists), midwives, pharmacists, dentists and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers. Primary health care services can be provided both in the home and in community-based settings such as the GP clinic, private practice, community health, local government or non-government settings and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs).

Secondary health care is medical care that is provided by a specialist, for a patient who has been referred by a primary care physician [31982].

Tertiary health care is that which is provided in hospitals. Hospitals can be private (owned and operated by non-government organisations) or public (owned and managed by state and territory governments) [31982]. Hospital emergency departments are a critical part of this system and provide care for patients who have an urgent need for medical or surgical care.


Key resources



Connections by Mick Adams

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