Raising community awareness
The RACGP is now four years into a five-year plan to raise community awareness through our brand campaign.
Since the launch of the community awareness campaign, the RACGP has experienced membership growth from 37,138 to now more than 40,000. We have also seen the percentage of patients who think it is important that their GP is a member of the RACGP rise from 15% to 36%.
The campaign played a pivotal role in the lifting of the Medicare rebate freeze, which was a severe burden on our members and their patients for over a decade.
The RACGP will continue to develop and deliver campaigns that highlight the value of general practice in the Australian health landscape.
Your Specialist in Life
The ‘Your Specialist in Life’ campaign aims to raise further awareness of the importance of general practice and highlight the breadth and impact of the role of specialist GPs in the Australian community. This phase of the campaign focuses on the key message that ‘Every week, over two million of us visit a GP’. This was especially relevant in the lead-up to the federal election campaign when it highlighted the connection GPs have with the voting public.
Become a GP
The ‘Become a GP’ campaign was launched at the start of 2019 to encourage junior doctors and medical students to consider a career in general practice. The campaign highlights that a day in the life of a GP is as diverse as it is rewarding.
The largely digital campaign focused on real stories of GPs across Australia, highlighting the clinical challenges of general practice, the opportunities to make a difference to patients and their communities, the supportive and passionate collegial network GPs belong to and, most importantly, the relationships GPs are able to form with patients over a lifetime.
The first burst of ‘Become a GP’ saw more than 450,000 video reviews, 32,000 visits to the campaign website, and 2245 downloads of the RACGP’s career guide. Importantly, the first campaign burst has helped build a pipeline of future members, with 1784 requests to be contacted – future members who can be nurtured on their journey to Become a GP. Subsequent bursts will build on learnings, continue to align with key university admission dates and, leveraging insights from the RACGP Expert Committee – Pre-Fellowship Education, explore opportunities to reach students and junior doctors in hospitals and via career information events.
In the lead-up to the 2019 federal election, the RACGP launched a public advocacy campaign calling on all sides of politics to commit to improving the health of the nation and patients’ access to their GP.
The targeted public campaign, ‘This election, put your health first’, reminded all political parties that the two million patients who visit their GP every week deserve better, and focused on the urgent need to lift Medicare rebates to the level they would be had the Medicare rebate freeze not been introduced.
Before the launch of the campaign, RACGP President Dr Harry Nespolon asked members to get involved in the lead-up to the election and meet with local candidates to discuss the four key areas identified in the RACGP election statement:
- Modernising medicine
- Reducing patient out-of-pocket costs
- Supporting mental health services
- Supporting complex care for those who need it most
Approximately 10% of candidates throughout Australia were visited by RACGP members before the election. Post-campaign research conducted with members by EY Sweeney revealed one in two (53%) members supported this specific campaign, and there is broad support among the membership for the RACGP to continue to advocate for GPs via campaigns.
The public campaign used a television commercial and digital advertisement to call on voters to pressure their local candidates into ensuring people get the care they deserve. Post-campaign research conducted by EY Sweeney showed the campaign proved thought-provoking among members of the community. Of those who recalled seeing the commercial or advertisement during the campaign, one in four said they thought about the impact the Medicare rebate freeze could have on them. A similar proportion ‘discussed the ad with family or friends’ (21%). Importantly, this research also confirmed members of the general public continue to feel overwhelmingly positive towards GPs as a profession, with eight in 10 (83%) stating they feel either ‘reasonably’ or ‘strongly positive’ about the work of GPs.
Health of the Nation
The RACGP’s annual General Practice: Health of the Nation report collates data from various sources to provide a comprehensive overview of the general practice sector in Australia. Since it was launched in 2017, the report has provided in-depth insights about general practice in Australia. In addition to providing information at a point in time, the report tracks trends and highlights changes across our profession from both a patient and a GP perspective.
The 2018 General Practice: Health of the Nation report was launched at a parliamentary breakfast in Canberra. The event was attended by some of Australia’s key healthcare decision-makers, including the Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt MP, the then Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten MP, the then Federal Opposition Health Minister Catherine King MP, the Leader of the Australian Greens Senator Richard Di Natale, and the Chief Medical Officer Professor Brendan Murphy, as well as media from all major networks and publications, resulting in widespread national coverage.
Key points of the 2018 report include:
- managing psychological issues and obesity is among the most significant concerns for GPs
- urgent government action is required on Medicare, including better support for mental health services and obesity prevention
- nearly 90% of Australians see a GP every year, the majority more than once a year
- despite general practice being the most widely accessed healthcare service, it receives less than 9% of overall government healthcare funding.