The Dutch health care sector faces major challenges. An increase in the number of elderly people and in chronic illness is causing a rise in the demand for care, while at the same time standards of quality and transparency are also being tightened up. Primary health care plays a key role in meeting these challenges. Local care is convenient for users. And it is even better if we can prevent demand for care due to illness from arising in the first place, by responding at an early stage to specific health risks in the local population. This requires more collaboration between the classic fields of disease prevention, health care and social welfare, and means care providers must be alert to new opportunities. In other words, what is needed is entrepreneurship.
The field of primary health care currently consists largely of relatively small work units focused on their own specialisation. To meet the challenges of the future, these small units must join forces as a matter of urgency. The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport has therefore commissioned an incentive programme designed to enhance the organisation and the innovative capacity of local care services.
The ‘Primary focus’ programme is designed to help strengthen the organisation of primary health care through innovation and entrepreneurship. This should ensure that, in future, local care is based more on the health status and demand for care in the local population. Prevention and curative occupational health services are also explicitly included. The programme will focus particularly on a number of specific groups of diagnoses: diabetes, heart failure, cardiovascular risk management, COPD, psychological disorders and musculoskeletal conditions in the elderly.
The programme should stimulate: