For the second year, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has compiled its annual health check-up on general practice, showing the areas where Australia’s primary healthcare system continues to thrive, whilst also highlighting areas of concern.
President-elect of the RACGP, Dr Harry Nespolon, has launched General Practice: Health of the Nation to Australia’s key parliamentarians and decision makers this morning at a parliamentary breakfast.
“This report takes the pulse of the general practice profession, and in turn the front line of healthcare for all Australians,” Dr Nespolon said.
“GPs are the cornerstone of healthcare delivery within Australia. Every year, general practice touches the lives of every person, family and community in Australia, with the majority of us seeing our GP several times a year.
The report highlights the reasons why patients see their GP and how patients interact with the primary health system. It also flags areas of major concern which need to be addressed to help ensure that Australians maintain healthy lives and stay out of hospital.
“Patients have shown strong connections to general practice, nearly 80% of patients can identify their own GP and can see them when needed.
“But the report also highlights areas which require urgent attention so that general practice does not get left behind, and patients are not short changed.
Key highlights of the report reveal that;
- managing psychological issues and obesity continue to be the most significant concern to GPs,
- GPs are calling for urgent government action on Medicare, including better supports for mental health services and obesity prevention,
- nearly 90% of Australians see a GP every year, the majority more than once a year,
- 45% of practicing GPs are female, with the percentage growing, and
- despite general practice being the most widely accessed healthcare service, it receives less than 9% of overall government healthcare funding.
“If there is not a substantial and coordinated push to address these persisting health issues, – I am fearful of what the future may hold for Australia’s healthcare system..
“I hope that parliamentarians from all sides take note of the health of the nation today and remember that evidence based preventive care is always the best option for all Australians.”