Position paper

First released in 2015 and now revised, The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners’ (RACGP’s) Vision for general practice and a sustainable healthcare system (the Vision) outlines a model of care that aims to address many of Australia’s longstanding healthcare challenges. The Vision has been developed by specialist general practitioners (GPs) – the health professionals with the unique dual roles of providing whole-person care over time, and acting as facilitators for healthcare in the rest of the health system. Given these dual roles, GPs are ideally placed to understand where the current health system is failing to meet the health needs of all Australians and how it can be improved.

Australia’s population is ageing and complex, and chronic conditions, such as diabetes and mental health conditions, are becoming more prevalent. These conditions are long term, and require early identification and care that can be provided appropriately in the community. However, our current health system focuses on acute treatments and costly hospital care, rather than on chronic disease management or preventive care.

Healthcare costs for patients, providers and funders are increasing at above the rate of inflation. This is partly due to the misalignment between how the current healthcare system is structured and the type of care needed.

The Vision looks to ensure the sustainability of the healthcare system in the long term. General practice is the most efficient part of the healthcare system. The Vision therefore sees that a well-resourced general practice sector is essential to addressing the existing and future challenges facing patients, funders and providers.

The Vision places the patient at the centre of care, supported in the first instance by their regular GP and broader general practice team. GPs and their teams then connect their patients to, and guide them through, the often complex wider healthcare system.

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