The following terminology has been adopted for clarity of purpose within the Primary and Community Healthcare Standards and the Guide. A full list of glossary definitions can be found in the Primary and Community Healthcare Standards.

‘Patient’, ‘client’, ‘person’ or ‘consumer’

The Primary and Community Healthcare Standards use the term ‘patient’ to refer to a person or group receiving healthcare services and the term ‘consumer’ to refer to a person who has used or may use a healthcare service, or a consumer representative or advocate. The term ‘patient’ encompasses all other relevant terms that may be used in primary and community health care including ‘client’, ‘person’, and ‘people with lived experience of specific areas of ill health’.

‘Healthcare provider’, ‘health practitioner’ or ‘clinician’

The Primary and Community Healthcare Standards use the term ‘healthcare provider’ to describe trained individuals who are involved in the provision of health care in a primary and/or community healthcare setting. Healthcare providers may also be referred to as health practitioners, clinicians or by a profession-specific description, for example ‘dental practitioner’ or ‘speech pathologist’.

‘Healthcare service’

The Primary and Community Healthcare Standards use the term ‘healthcare service’ to describe primary and community healthcare services, as well as other services involved in the delivery of health care to patients and consumers.

Healthcare services are delivered in a wide range of settings and vary in size and organisational structure. These range from owner-operated services, where a single healthcare provider is also responsible for administrative and management operations, to complex organisations comprising of many healthcare providers, a supporting workforce, management and an overarching governing body. Where ‘healthcare service’ is used in the actions, this refers to those responsible for leading and governing the service.

‘Healthcare’ vs. ‘health care’ vs. ‘care’

Throughout this document, the Commission has used the words ‘health care’ when referring to a noun (for example, ‘the state of health care in Australia’) and ‘healthcare’ when referring to an adjective (for example, the ‘healthcare system’ or ‘healthcare services’). Where the word ‘care’ is used, and is not preceded by a qualifying word (for example, episode of care, comprehensive care), this encompasses broader elements of care (for example, personal or social care).


The Primary and Community Healthcare Standards rely on healthcare services establishing safety and quality systems. A system includes the resources, policies, processes and procedures that are organised, integrated, regulated and administered to accomplish a stated goal. Safety and quality systems will vary depending on the size of the healthcare service and the risks associated with the services being delivered.


The resources listed in the Guide under ‘Where to go for more information’ are not exhaustive. The inclusion of a resource in this guide should not be taken as endorsement by the Commission.

Many resources developed by the Commission have been developed prior to the release of the Primary and Community Healthcare Standards, and are based on NSQHS Standards. Both standards are aligned in structure and intent, and the principles and strategies outlined are broadly applicable. Over time, resources may be updated.  

Resources are generally listed in order of importance.