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Primary healthcare is a term used to describe the first contact a person has with the health system when they have a health problem or issue that is not an emergency. It is the part of the health system that people use most and may be provided, for example, by a general practitioner (GP), physiotherapist or pharmacist.

Primary healthcare providers

Primary healthcare is a term used to describe a range of healthcare providers who work in the community. Any healthcare professional who is the first point of contact for the health system can be a primary healthcare provider.
Most people visit their GP (sometimes referred to as the ‘local doctor’) as a first step when they have a health problem that is not an emergency. The primary healthcare system also includes allied health professionals, such as dentists and physiotherapists. Primary healthcare is provided in a community setting, such as a general practice or dental clinic. Primary healthcare providers may work in medical clinics, community health centers and allied health practices, such as physiotherapy and podiatry practices.

Primary healthcare services

Services delivered by primary healthcare providers include:
• diagnosis, treatment and care of people with health problems
• promoting good health
• preventing health problems
• early intervention
• managing ongoing and long-term conditions.
Healthcare services play an important role in advising and helping you to prevent illness and maintain good health. Important areas that you should seek advice on include:
• managing and stopping smoking
• hazardous drinking
• stress and depression
• poor diet and
• physical inactivity.
Your primary healthcare practitioner is usually your regular GP, who provides comprehensive and ongoing general medical care, but you may have several primary health professionals you see regularly. For example, a dentist, counsellor, dietitian, osteopath or physiotherapist, are all primary healthcare providers.

Having a good relationship with your primary healthcare provider is important. You will often be able to establish an ongoing relationship with these providers, so that you can feel confident you have a medically trained professional to contact when you have a health issue.

To maintain a good relationship with your primary healthcare provider:

• Keep medical history information and make it available to your primary healthcare provider.
• Feel confident sharing sensitive information with your primary healthcare provider, as they are not allowed to share it without your permission.
• Prepare for visits by writing down your symptoms, medication and any other healthcare providers you may be seeing, so you can discuss this with your primary healthcare provider.
The main role of primary health care is to provide continuous and comprehensive care to the patients. It also helps in making the patient available with the various social welfare and public health services initiated by the concerned governing babies and other organizations. The other major role of primary role of primary health care center is to offer quality health and social services to the underprivileged sections of society.
As for the benefits of primary health care to the members of a community, it offers the first set of professional care to the patients by incorporating a proactive approach that utilizes several preventive measures, management of chronic diseases, and promoting self-care. Along with that primary health care providers increased accessibility to advanced health care system for the community, which results in excellent health outcomes and prevention of delay. All primary health care clinics contain a dedicated team of healthcare professionals offering the best medical services. They provide a coordinated approach to the delivery of health care that ensures that the beneficiaries receive the best care from the right health provider.
Primary care helps to increase access to health services, which is particularly important for isolated or deprived population groups that may not have the means to access these services otherwise. As the main point of entry into the healthcare system, primary care providers are available to help individuals to understand and discuss their health and any particular problems that they may be experiencing. In case of need, a referral can be made for more specialized care.
Primary health care implemented in a timely and helpful manner can also reduce the need for specialist care, which may be unnecessary and have the potential to harm patients. When primary health practitioners are able to encourage preventative measures or make early interventions, referral to a specialist for disease-specific care can often be avoided, thus reducing the risks associated with treatment.

Unique Health has been established in 1988, the client care base has grown more than 50% with continuous growth opportunities. The structure of the company enables Unique Health to adapt to market needs. For this reason Unique Health offers services 24/7 and nationally in South Africa. Unique Health also offers intellectual property and assistance to similar companies outside the borders of South Africa.