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Can J Public Health. 2006 Sep-Oct;97(5):409-11.

Primary care (PC) and primary health care (PHC). What is the difference?

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Elisabeth Bruyère Research Institute, Ottawa, ON.


Primary Care and Primary Health Care are very similar terms which are often employed interchangeably, but which are also used to denote quite different concepts. Much time and energy is spent discussing which term is the appropriate one for a particular application. There is a growing recognition internationally that the two terms describe two quite distinct entities. Recent Canadian uses of the two terms are, for the most part, consistent with the international uses. Primary Care, the shorter term, describes a narrower concept of "family doctor-type" services delivered to individuals. Primary Health Care is a broader term which derives from core principles articulated by the World Health Organization and which describes an approach to health policy and service provision that includes both services delivered to individuals (Primary Care services) and population-level "public health-type" functions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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