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Last year the AMA commissioned Essential Research to do some research into public attitudes toward primary healthcare services.

The aim was to reveal public attitudes relating to the Federal Government's push to decrease the role of General Practitioners and increase the role of independent health practitioners. The AMA also wanted to get a snapshot of public perceptions of GPs and the system in which they work.

The overwhelming message is that GPs are considered by the public to be the most trustworthy, knowledgeable and experienced health professionals. Nurses, hospital doctors and locums fare well in the public eye. Alternative therapists have considerably less popular respect but GPs top the three key categories of the survey.

The survey also showed that the majority of Australians want to see more nurses but they want them working with doctors, not as a replacement for them. 82 per cent of those surveyed agree that the best outcome for patients is to have doctors and nurses work together. 76 per cent want a model that sees Government funding more nurses to work with GPs in general practice.

It's clear that GPs occupy a special place as respected professionals and trusted members of the community. This research should send a strong message to politicians who are considering shifting the role of GPs in primary healthcare. Click here for the PDF booklet.

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