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01 Dec 2017

Australians still love their local doctors.

At least that is the finding of the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data, which shows that patients around the nation are satisfied with their GPs.

The ABS’s latest Patient Experiences in Australia Survey reinforces previous findings that Australia’s dedicated GPs are meeting increasing demand and providing quality services.

GPs attracted a very high satisfaction rating from patients in the survey.

The survey produced positive results for medical specialists and emergency department doctors as well, but GPs are the doctors who have the most frequent contact with patients.

According to the survey, 83 per cent of Australians saw a GP in the last 12 months and around 78 per cent of patients have a preferred usual GP.

AMA President Dr Michael Gannon described the results of the survey as outstanding.

“Importantly, the proportion of people waiting longer than they felt acceptable for a GP appointment decreased from 23 per cent in 2013-14 to 18 per cent in 2016-17,” Dr Gannon said.

“Of those who patients who saw a GP for urgent medical care, 75 per cent were seen within 24 hours of making an appointment.

“The survey shows that cost is not a barrier to accessing GP care, with only 4 per cent of respondents saying that they at least once delayed seeing a GP or did not see a GP when needed due to cost.

“Of those patients who saw a GP in the last 12 months, 92 per cent reported that the GP always or often listened carefully to them, 94 per cent reported that their GP always or often showed them respect, and 90.6 per cent reported that their GP always or often spent enough time with them.

“These results are outstanding when you consider the pressure under which our GPs are working today.”

Dr Gannon said GPs are a critical part of the health system, and they must be valued and supported.

General practice remains under significant funding pressure due to cuts by successive governments, he said, but GPs continue to provide high quality and accessible primary care services across the country.

“When people are sick, they want to see a GP,” Dr Gannon said.

“As the Government looks to shape the future of our health system, it needs to build its investment in general practice, which remains the most cost effective part of the system.”

CHRIS JOHNSON

 


Published: 01 Dec 2017