Cultural Change

Changing health services to make greater investment in promoting health and preventing disease will require significant change in the culture and practices. In this framework, cultural change is about embracing health promotion and prevention, and balancing these ways of working with the needs of acute health services.

A health system that focuses on promoting health and wellbeing is one that invests in and considers the needs of individuals and of population groups such as Aboriginal people, refugees, young people, people living in rural areas. In this system, there is a balance between investments in health promotion, illness prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and care and rehabilitation services.

A health system that has changed its health culture and is working in health promoting ways:

  • engages with clients to promote health and wellbeing at every chance
  • addresses the determinants of health and wellbeing
  • works across the continuum of interventions
  • addresses health inequities
  • ensures people who need the services the most get them
  • uses evidence appropriately
  • works in partnerships with others
  • engages with clients and community in a way that is meaningful to them
  • seeks to create environments that support health and wellbeing.

The Department of Health and Human Services recognises there is an alternative to hospital care and that these services need to be based on evidence, have a strong partnership with patients and work to improve health literacy. The Strategic Framework for Health Workforce emphasises the increased need for primary and preventative healthcare and for service models that span acute and primary care. This will need a significant change to a range of existing practices and activities.

The Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion states 'the role of the health sector must move increasingly in a health promoting direction, beyond its responsibility for providing clinical and curative services'.

For further information and to apply these principles in your work, view this checklist

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