Australian Family Physician
Australian Family Physician


Volume 40, Issue 1, January-February 2011

General practice Workforce gaps now and in 2020

Helena Britt Christopher Harrison
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The general practice workforce required for Australia in the future will depend on many factors, including geographic areas and patient utilisation of general practice services.
This article examines the current and future general practice workforce requirements by way of an analysis of geographic areas accounting for differing patient utilisation.
The results showed that, compared with major cities, inner regional areas had 24.4% higher expected patient general practice utilisation per general practitioner, outer regional 33.2%, and remote/very remote 21.4%. Balanced distribution would mean 1129 fewer GPs in major cities: 639 more in inner regional, 423 more in outer regional and 66 more in remote/very remote. With the population projected to increase 18.6–26.1% by 2020, expected general practice utilisation will increase by 27.0–33.1%. Initiatives addressing general practice workforce shortages should account for increasing general practice utilisation due to the aging population, or risk exacerbating the unequal distribution of general practice services.

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