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Episode 19

Health of the Nation 2020 report, part 1

Show notes

Welcome to Generally Speaking, the conversation for all GPs.

Join GPs Dr Gill Singleton and Dr Billy Stoupas as they discuss some of the most pressing topics and issues surrounding the operations of a general practice.

This time, Dr Stoupas and Dr Singleton wrap up the year with the RACGP General Practice: Health of the Nation report. They are joined by Dr Michael Wright, Chair of the RACGP Expert Committee on Funding and Health System Reform. They are also joined by RACGP President-elect, Dr Karen Price. Karen is a GP, practice owner, medical educator, and co-founder of GPs Down Under (GPDU).

18 November 2020 - 02:03 PM | 26 min 44 sec

(00:21) Dr Singleton and Dr Stoupas set the scene for their discussion regarding the findings from the 2020 Health of the Nation report. They also flag that this topic will be divided into over two installations of the podcast. The first primarily about the patients, their presentations and the clinics, and the second focusing on business, funding and remuneration.

Introduction of Dr Michael Wright and Dr Karen Price

(02:04) Dr Singleton introduces our guests and invites them to share their motivation to do what they do. The doctors tell their stories and the discussion begins.

(04:47) Dr Stoupas asks Dr Wright about the report and its background. He outlines the motivation for its creation and that it was difficult to find data in one place that covered the general practice story. The Health of the Nation report went some way to doing that, along with getting the perspective of GPs.

(06:31) Dr Wright responds to Dr Stoupas on the question of participation of the GP community in the survey and he describes that there could always be more but that he is pleased with the turnout. 

(07:06) Both Dr Wright and Dr Price respond to Dr Stoupas on how the data from the report is used and its value. Each outline how GPs’ issues are supported by the research from the report.

(10:11) Both Dr Wright and Dr Price respond to Dr Singleton on the topic of the top three patient presentations as outlined by the report. Those being, psychological presentations, preventive care and respiratory issues. Each highlighted the importance of dealing with the growing issue of mental health – particularly in the wake of the pandemic.

(12:04) Dr Wright chats through his thoughts on the statistics surrounding the difference gender makes in the clinic. Dr Price then moves on to the topic of ‘non-medical’ issues such as housing, domestic violence, racism and income. She comments that in fact, these are, or at least are becoming, medical issues.

(14:43) Dr Stoupas pushes further into the issue of mental health and our overall approach, and Dr Price talks through the situation with regard to access to the appropriate doctors and psychologists. It’s clear that GPs are having to carry a lot of this responsibility.

(16:28) The conversation moves to the wellbeing of our actual GPs on a number of fronts, including mental health.

(18:22) Dr Stoupas picks up on the fact that one in four GPs reported deterioration in their mental health. And that GPs under 45 were more likely to report a deterioration than those over 45. Dr Wright makes anecdotal commentary on the issue and Dr Price follows up with some commentary around the typical situation of some of our younger doctors.

(22:14) Dr Wright and Dr Price both make commentary on the observation that GPs as a profession, responded admirably to keep patients and staff safe during the pandemic and that there were some terrific innovations, a major one being telehealth.

(23:24) Dr Stoupas moves on to the issue of the prediction of an increase of about 13.5% in suicides over the coming five years, and Dr Price makes some observations on what can be done to deal with this potential and very concerning outcome.

(24:19) Dr Stoupas acknowledges that they have all only skimmed the surface of the findings in the report and that there is much more to talk through in part 2.

I was interested in the statistic that we have in the report that says five years after the Victorian Black Saturday, there were still 22% of people in the affected communities who had doubled the rate of mental health issues compared with non-impacted [communities]. So this is a trauma that we’ve all experienced together. I’m hopeful that in some ways that will create a sense of solidarity but also create policy impetus to improve access to funding for marginalised groups and to respond.’
– Dr Karen Price

I reference Health of the Nation in virtually every conversation that we have, because it’s a very simple way to give to a policymaker, a politician – to give them a document that shows this is what general practice does. This is where we fit into the system and this is why it’s important.’
– Dr Michael Wright

  • General Practice: Health of the Nation 2020 is available.
  • If you would like to learn more about Dr Michael Wright, his achievements and insights, or would like to connect, please visit his LinkedIn LinkedIn page.
  • If you would like to learn more about Dr Karen Price, her achievements and insights, or would like to connect, please visit her LinkedIn LinkedIn page.
  • If you would like to learn more about Dr Gill Singleton’s achievements and insights, or would like to connect, please visit her LinkedIn page.
  • If you would like to learn more about Dr Billy Stoupas’ achievements and insights, or would like to connect, please visit his website.

Resources referred to in the Generally Speaking podcast and on the www.racgp.org.au/generallyspeaking/home website are views of the hosts and not necessarily endorsed by RACGP.

Other episodes

Wrap of the year 2020

16/12/2020 1:58:55 PM | 25 min 14 sec

Health of the Nation 2020 report, part 2

2/12/2020 1:55:05 PM | 25 min 8 sec

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health

4/11/2020 1:05:22 PM | 25 min 1 sec

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