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Health Speak podcast chats with Primary Health Tasmania CEO Phil Edmondson

Posted on October 1, 2019

Health Speak host Penny Terry with Phil.
Have you been listening to the Health Speak podcast? It’s the fastest (and funniest) way to learn which health professionals you really need in your life.

In the latest episode, podcast host Penny Terry sits down with Primary Health Tasmania’s CEO Phil Edmondson to find out more about how health services are paid for, and the systems that sit behind these funding arrangements.

Their conversation covers a lot of ground from how Phil’s job can sometimes feel like ‘herding cats’, to examples of Primary Health Tasmania’s work, such as commissioning influenza immunisations for vulnerable Tasmanians while trying to demystify some of the more complex questions around how our health system functions.

Here are some of Phil’s key insights:

  • What people can do to improve the health system: “I think one of the most important things people can do is continue to engage comfortably with their health practitioners — to ask questions to understand why things happen in the way that they do, to ask them about other alternatives and options that are available to them. I think one of the worst things we can do is just accept what we’re told.”
  • The necessity of being open to change: “The health system, like everything else, needs to change if it’s to get better. Sometimes, clinging to the same old thing we’ve always had is not necessarily the security blanket you think it is.

  • Shifting focus to preventing hospitalisation: “In Tasmania, we love throwing money at elective surgeries, and hospital beds, and things that make it easier for people to get into hospitals. We forget where they come from in the community, and all of the care and the services and providers that exist out there; and we forget where we want them to go back to after they’ve been in hospital. We’ve got to get these three things working in balance together if we’re actually going to have a health system that keeps people healthy, rather than a health system that operates like (…) the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, catching people as they fall, rather than stopping them from going off the cliff in the first place.” 

  • On the importance of working together: “We can only work effectively as an organisation if we work in partnership.

The Health Speak project was funded by the Healthy Tasmania Community Innovations Grants through the Tasmanian Government.