News

We're seeing our GPs more often than a decade ago

AUSTRALIAN GPs are cramming more into patient consultations than they were a decade ago, but the average length of the consultation has stayed the same.

Research led by the University of Sydney, contained in two reports to be published on Tuesday, also shows people are seeing their GPs more.

In 2011-12 more than 18.7 million Australians, or 83% of the population, saw a GP at least once. Medicare paid for 122.5 million visits, or 5.4 visits per person.

The number of procedures done at GP visits increased when Medicare started to pay for some procedures done by practice nurses, under the supervision of the GP.

In 2011-12 nurses did about one third of all the procedures recorded in the Bettering the Evaluation and Care of Health program, which provided the data for the reports.The lead author, associate professor Helena Britt from Sydney Medical School, said Australian GPs were getting busier and busier.

"We are seeing our GPs more often than we were a decade ago, and the GPs are also fitting more into their consultations. For example patients are presenting with more issues, GPs are managing more problems, and doing more tests and procedures - yet the time spent in the average consultation has stayed steady at about 15 minutes," said Prof Britt, who also is the director of the BEACH program.

The reports - General Practice Activity In Australia 2011-12 and A Decade Of Australian General Practice 2002-03 to 2011-12 - provide data on the activities of Australian GPs and the care of their patients.

In contrast to the increase in the number of procedures following the involvement of nurses in consultations, since the nurses' involvement GPs give less advice, education and counselling about exercise, nutrition and weight.

"That trend is continuing so we hope that the important role of exercise and dietary advice is being picked up by the practice nurses at, for example, independent meetings with patients as part of their chronic disease management, or as part of diabetes education," Prof Britt said.

"The trouble is we don't have information about these nurses' work outside GP-patient encounters. Practice nurses' independent activities represent a growing gap in our understanding of the content of general practice care of the population."

This year the researchers also investigated which problems are referred to certain specialist groups, an area in which there is virtually no information available worldwide.

They found that osteoarthritis accounted for one in five new GP referrals to orthopaedic surgeons, ischaemic heart disease accounted for one out of five referrals to cardiologists and diabetes for one out of six referrals to ophthalmologists.

Topics:  gp, health, medicare



Your guide to a great night out in Ipswich

Electronic duo Nocturnal Tapes, Lachie Mulligan on electronics and Harry Suttor on guitar and vocals, at their 2015 Dolphin Awards ceremony in Ballina.

Five-day gig guide to the best entertainment in Ipswich

More greyhound trainers in court on animal cruelty

Wood and brass judges gavel on a law book

Five greyhound trainers in court

Police call on gun owners to lock up, keep quiet

A 2008 model Toyota Prado stolen during a home invasion at Pine Mountain. Guns were also taken.

Crims targeting responsible gun owners

Latest deals and offers

Ipswich people love heritage

'It's a great vote of confidence for a program that was launched in 1992 and has since provided thousands of property owners with heritage conservation'


Your guide to a great night out in Ipswich

Electronic duo Nocturnal Tapes, Lachie Mulligan on electronics and Harry Suttor on guitar and vocals, at their 2015 Dolphin Awards ceremony in Ballina.

Five-day gig guide to the best entertainment in Ipswich

Love is in the air on The Bachelor, but not for Kiki

The Bachelor Australia contestant Kirralee 'Kiki' Morris.

BACHELORETTE bows out gracefully as show enters its final weeks.

A $65,000 bathroom? The Block's incredible budget blow-outs

The Block contestants Julia and Sasha spent a whopping $65,000 on their first renovated room.

TEAMS deliver most expensive en-suites in reno show's history.

Your guide to a great night out in Ipswich

Electronic duo Nocturnal Tapes, Lachie Mulligan on electronics and Harry Suttor on guitar and vocals, at their 2015 Dolphin Awards ceremony in Ballina.

Five-day gig guide to the best entertainment in Ipswich

Cryptic crosswords: Top clues to solving them

Your guide to solving the cryptic crosswords in your local paper

MOVIE REVIEW: Ben-Hur isn't likely to become a new classic

Toby Kebbell plays Messala Severus and Jack Huston plays Judah Ben-Hur in a scene from Ben-Hur.

ANYTHING less than grand in a remake of Ben-Hur won't do.

Coming up on your TVs this September...

Don't miss A Place to Call Home as season four launches this September.

HERE'S a sneak peek at what's coming up on Foxtel.

Bunnings starts demolition of historic foundry buildings

SAWTOOTH GONE: Demolition of Foundry sawtooth shed to make way for new Bunnings building.

Lane and footpath closures will take place

Australia's most expensive balcony and it hasn't been built

Viridian Noosa.

How Noosa millionares' squabble could affect body corporates

Receivers move in on Springfield's 'Tower of Power'

The 10-storey tower at Springfield is up for sale with interest high in the iconic structure.

Interest high in iconic 10-storey office building

Palm Lake Resort set to move in to Coast with 276 villas

Palm Lake Group has been given approval by Sunshine Coast Council to build a 276-villa over 50s resort and 120-bed aged care facility at the intersection of Caloundra Rd and Caloundra Mooloolaba Rd in Little Mountain.

New facility planned for Caloundra Rd

Warning for unit investors with price plummet prediction

The warning signs are flashing for one real estate sector in 2017 despite others performing the best they have in years and it's not going to be pretty.

One real estate sector looks set for a rocky 2017

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale