The factor – Governmental and Regulatory Policies and Mandates for Collaboration – involves four elements:

  • Expectations that partners are essential,
  • Clear govenmental policies, mandates for collaboration,
  • Consistency of standards around collaboration for public health and primary care,
  • Expectations/accountability for reporting on collaborations using common quality indicators.

At the systemic level, there are governmental and regulatory policies and mandates that stipulate expectation of partnerships. The common message is that it is essential that public health and primary care work together for effective health care systems.

One public health professional, who has worked in both sectors, observed the following, “Over the years, I have noticed a greater emphasis on the Community Health Centre Staffneed for partnerships between sectors. It seems to me that governments are realizing that partnerships and collaborations are the best way to do business.”

For a collaboration to be successful, it is important for public health and primary care to have separate, as well as, shared mandates within the health care system. These should be clearly articulated, well-understood, and respected.

Clear government policies, mandates, and legislation that support intersectoral collaboration, including public health and primary care, strongly influence successful collaborations.

Nurse administering vaccine

Governmental Policies and Mandates Governmental policies and mandates can support the necessary infrastructure for collaboration. In this regard, the policies and mandates can provide justification for allocation of funding; for example, for electronic medical/health records. They can also provide justification for deployment of Health Human Resources (HHR) in different ways; for example, a public health nurse working with primary care in chronic disease prevention or a public health nurse working to provide venues for immunization.

Where no mandates or policies exist, policy discussions should occur with governments and regulators to determine the implications for building public health and primary care collaborations with the aim of improving health outcomes.

Definitions and Understanding of Partnerships and Collaborations

As per the Public Health Agency of Canada Core Competencies for Public Health in Canada: Release 1 (2008), partnerships and collaboration were defined as,

Collaboration between individuals, groups, organizations, governments or sectors for the purpose of joint action to achieve a common goal. The concept of partnership implies that there is an informal understanding or a more formal agreement (possibly legally binding) among the parties regarding roles and responsibilities, as well as the nature of the goal and how it will be pursued. (p. 12)

A recognized relationship among different sectors or groups, which is formed to take action on an issue in a way that is more effective or sustainable than might be achieved by the public health sector acting alone. (p. 9)