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Your family doctor: here for you 

medicSA July 2018

During Family Doctor Week 2018, which runs from Sunday 22 July to Saturday 28 July, the AMA celebrates the nation’s general practitioners – our family doctors – and their value to the community and health system as they deliver high-quality holistic health care. This year’s theme is ‘Your family doctor: here for you’.

GPs are trained to treat the whole person and to care for people of all ages, all walks of life, and with all types of medical issues and concerns.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) says Australia has one of the best health systems in the world. Its strength stems from general practice and the pivotal role of the general practitioner. GPs are the first port of call when Australians feel unwell, and GPs manage 90% of the problems they encounter.

Australians already know the benefits of having a regular family doctor, with 83% of the population visiting a GP at least once a year, 93% of Australians returning to the same practice, and 78% of patients having a preferred usual GP. GPs are also the most used and trusted source of child health information.

Over 90% of Australians have a regular general practice and around 80% have a regular family doctor. People who have an ongoing relationship with a family doctor enjoy better health.

Having a regular GP and/or general practice enables the long-term and continuous care of a patient through an ongoing relationship of respect and trust. A regular GP becomes familiar with a patient’s medical history and their family’s medical history and, through the trusted relationship, can effectively advise patients on the risks to their health and the factors in their lives that contribute to those risks, including unhealthy lifestyle choices such as excessive alcohol consumption, smoking and poor diet.

A regular GP can also provide ongoing management of risk factors, coordinate allied health services, and deliver other preventive health-care measures such as vaccinations and screening tests.

Another important role for the regular GP is to assist patients in navigating an increasingly complex and confusing health and welfare system.

 

Since 1993, AMA Family Doctor Week has raised the profile of general practice within the Australian community, highlighting the hard work and dedication of GPs.

The highlight of Family Doctor Week will be when the AMA president, GP Dr Tony Bartone, addresses the Australian National Press Club on Wednesday 25 July, where he will be talking about health reform and improving the patient journey. The speech will be broadcast live on ABC TV or for those who wish to attend in person tickets can be booked npc.org.au/speakers/dr-tony-bartone/.

Posters for the annual event (pictured) can be downloaded and displayed in your practice. Go to at ama.com.au/family-doctor-week-2018