General Practice: health of the nation 2020
A unique insight into the state of Australian general practice
PublisherGeneral practice Primary health care Rural health Medicine Australia
This report gives a unique overview of Australian general practice, while also addressing the impact of COVID-19 on general practice and patients.
- The physical health impact of the 2019–20 bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic on the community is immediately apparent in the survey results from GPs. There was an increase in respiratory presentations, including cases of suspected COVID-19. This may also reflect increased presentations related to smoke inhalation as a result of the 2019–20 bushfires.
- More than four in 10 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have at least one chronic health condition which poses a significant health problem. High rates of chronic health issues are a risk factor for COVID-19 mortality.20 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are also 16 times more likely to be living in an overcrowded house than non-Indigenous Australians making physical distancing measures difficult to implement.
- Continuity of care is vital to improving patient health outcomes and reducing hospitalisations. Medical experts and policymakers have long called for a voluntary patient-enrolment model to help coordinate access to multidisciplinary care. Such a model would support GPs and practice teams to better manage chronic disease and mental health issues.
- It is vitally important that general practices and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs) are adequately resourced to continue to provide timely, accessible and culturally appropriate mental health services.
- Areas of lower socioeconomic advantage see more patients with endocrine and metabolic issues as well as the effects of non-medical issues on health (such as domestic violence, housing, income and racism). GPs in the most advantaged areas are more likely to see psychological issues and women’s health presentations.
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners 2020
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20 Nov 2020