28 February 2024

2024 Federal Budget should fund GP research for better health

The Royal Australian College of GPs (RACGP) is calling on the Federal Government to invest in general practice-based research to improve the evidence base for GPs caring for patients and helping people live healthier.  

Australia’s largest peak GP body, the RACGP is calling for funding and support to establish a national practice-based research network in its pre-Budget submission 2024-25,  

GPs are strongly in support of the measure which would improve patient care. A nationwide newsGP poll found the greatest benefits of a national practice-based research network would be: 

  • stronger evidence for clinical decisions 68% 

  • More career opportunities for GPs within general practice 13% 

  • better information to provide patients 11%  

RACGP President Dr Nicole Higgins said: “Funding homegrown health research carried out in the place where most people access healthcare will improve the health and wellbeing of Australians. It’s simple. 

“We know that practice-based health research networks are immensely valuable. The Canadian network produces strong evidence that results in better care for the health issues the country is grappling with, including chronic disease, ageing, addiction and even allergies. 


“And when the pandemic struck, the United Kingdom used its network to rapidly establish a large-scale trial of COVID treatment in general practice. 

“The pandemic exposed a gap in Australia’s health system; a major underinvestment in general practice-based research. We don’t have a national network like the UK or Canada, so we couldn’t run large-scale trials of COVID treatment in general practice. 

“If we had a national network in Australia, we would be much better prepared for the next pandemic, have much needed data on GP consultations, and GPs would be better equipped with solid evidence to tackle the health challenges of today and the future.  

“We do have smaller practice-based research networks in Australia that show the value of homegrown research, such as the Translating Research Outcomes in the Primary Health Interface (TROPHI) project, in outer eastern Melbourne. This innovative project is focussed on improving care in line with local community needs – developing better tools and support for people with mental health concerns, is just one example. It is a collaboration between the RACGP, the University of Melbourne and Monash University, with seed funding from the Windermere Foundation.  

“I urge the government to make this investment in the next Budget – it will pay dividends in terms of improving our health and wellbeing for generations to come.”  

Media enquiries

Journalists and media outlets seeking comment and information from the RACGP can contact John Ronan, Ally Francis and Stuart Winthrope via: