Figure 2 shows variation in reported health presentations according to the GP’s age, gender and practice location. GPs aged 44 years and younger are more likely to report a higher proportion of patients presenting for psychological, respiratory, women’s health, and pregnancy and family planning reasons, whereas GPs aged 45 years and older are more likely to report musculoskeletal, endocrine and metabolic, and circulatory issues as reasons for patient presentations (Figure 2).
Female GPs are more likely to report psychological, women’s health, and pregnancy and family planning as reasons for patient presentations, whereas male GPs are more likely to report musculoskeletal, respiratory, circulatory and skin presentations (Figure 2).
GPs in rural and regional areas† more commonly see endocrine and metabolic, circulatory and skin issues compared to their colleagues in metropolitan areas. GPs in areas of greatest socioeconomic disadvantage‡ reported seeing a higher proportion of musculoskeletal, endocrine and metabolic issues, as well as the effects of non-medical issues on health (such as domestic violence, inadequate housing) (Figure 2).
These gender- and age-related differences in presentations, along with the differences related to practice location, have been consistently reported through the five years of the Health of the Nation survey.3
GPs working in Aboriginal medical services (AMSs) are more likely to report endocrine and metabolic issues (66%) and the effects of non-medical issues on health (38%), and are less likely to report psychological (53%), musculoskeletal (25%), women’s health (9%), and preventive care (9%) than GPs working in all practice types. GPs in AMSs are more likely to work in areas of socioeconomic disadvantage.3
As with previous years, the 2021 findings may reflect an overall higher disease burden in areas of socioeconomic disadvantage and a need to prioritise acute physical health issues. Lower rates of health literacy among patients in these areas may also affect when and how they seek help.2