Colocation of GPs and Primary Health Nurses in two disadvantaged communities

Project Status

Chief Investigators
Elizabeth Harris, Mark Harris, Teresa Anderson

Other Team Members
Eliabeth Comino, Warwick Ruscoe, Vanessa Rose


Health services have a key role in addressing health inequities through the provision of an accessible and comprehensive primary health care system. In South Western Sydney, strong links exist between the Area Health Service and Divisions of General Practice. The two groups have regular meetings, undertake joint projects and work together on a wide range of education and research activities. This effective working partnership is however not always reflected at the practice level. CHETRE worked closely with Directors of Community and Allied Health, SWSAHS and local Divisions of General Practice in developing, implementing and evaluating an innovative model of integrated primary health care to improve the health of people living in disadvantaged communities.


The project aims to develop and evaluate a model of primary care involving partnerships between GPs and Community Health Services that contributes to improving the health of people who are disadvantaged.

Specifically, this involved:

  • developing a model of primary care involving co-location and cooperation between community health and general practices.
  • piloting this model in two disadvantaged communities in South West Sydney.
  • evaluating the impact of these models on quality of care, preventive activities and the cooperation between the services in addressing the health of disadvantaged groups in these communities.

Design and Method

Two models were evaluated: the Community A model which involved co-locating a Primary Health Nurse (PHN) full-time in a general practice; and the Community B model which involved co-locating two PHNs for part of their time in a general practice. The evaluation used both quantitative and qualitative methods including an analysis of archival data and in-depth interviews with GPs, PHNs and co-located patients.

Key Publications

Rose V, Harris E, Harris MF, Comino E. Integrated Primary Care in Disadvantaged Communities: A pilot study of Community Nurse Co-Location in General Practice, Sydney: CHETRE, 2003.