Australian Family Physician
Australian Family Physician


Volume 40, Issue 1, January-February 2011

Indigenous health A role for private general practice

R Paul Johanson Peter Hill
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The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander life expectancy gap is associated with lower primary care usage by Indigenous Australians. Many Indigenous Australians regard private general practitioners as their usual source of healthcare. However, a range of barriers results in relatively low access to primary care, with subsequent inadequate prevention and management of chronic disease. Indigenous primary care requires development of a set of attributes by the GP. Clinician autonomy may need to be tempered to be responsive to the needs of local indigenous communities.
A partnership between an urban indigenous community and a private general practice is described.
Over a period of 1 year, registered indigenous patients at the private general practice clinic increased from 10 to 147; monthly attendance increased from five to 40 (p<0.001). Local engagement between private practices and indigenous communities may be implemented widely to reduce the primary care gap.

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