A new Australian Institute of Health and Welfare/University of Sydney report on General Practice highlights the critical role GPs play in keeping the Australian community healthy, AMA Federal President, Dr Andrew Pesce, said today.
The AIHW and University of Sydney today released General practice in Australia, health priorities and policies 1998 to 2008,
which isbased on data from the BEACH (Bettering the Evaluation and Care of Health) program.
Dr Pesce said the report showed that GPs were spending an increasing proportion of their time with older patients and managing chronic medical conditions.
"GPs are spending more time checking for - and managing - diabetes, blood pressure, high-cholesterol and depression. They are also taking a lead role in tackling type 2 diabetes, cancer and other serious medical conditions," Dr Pesce said.
"Governments must ensure GPs have the support and resources they need to care for an ageing population with increasing rates of chronic disease.
"We need more GP training places, extra support for practice nurses who work in GP-led teams and investment in medical equipment and information technology for medical practices."
The report showed an increasing number of patients were overweight or obese and more people were requesting check-ups.
"GPs already undertake a lot of preventative activity despite a lack of support for this in the Medicare Benefits Schedule. The Government needs to recognise this work and provide more support for longer patient consultations," Dr Pesce said.
The report was released as the AMA was gearing up to mark GP Week from 19 - 25 July.