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released: 8 Jul 2009 author: Britt H, Miller GC, Charles J, Valenti L, Fahridin S, Pan Y, Harrison C, Bayram C, O'Halloran J & Henderson J media release

This report looks extensively at changes in the activities of GPs from 1998 to 2008 in the light of numerous government initiatives and changes in the GP workforce and in the population. It shows that GP activity generally correlates well with health policy initiatives and clinical guidelines, notably with Type 2 diabetes and the control of asthma and high blood cholesterol levels. In some areas, however, there is less evidence of an effect so far. The report also raises some potential concerns about the costs from the continued rapid growth in orders for pathology testing and the overall challenge for the GP workforce in dealing with an ageing population with complex needs. Edited by Britt H and Miller GC.

ISSN 1442-3022; ISBN 978 1 74024 934 8; Cat. no. GEP 24; 308pp.; Internet only

Full publication

Publication table of contents

  • Preliminary material (176KB PDF)
    • Title and verso pages
    • Foreword
    • Contents
    • Acknowledgments
    • Abbreviations
    • Symbols
    • Executive summary
  • Body section
    • 1 Overview (109KB PDF)
      • 1.1 Background
      • 1.2 Report structure and how results are presented
      • 1.3 Key findings
      • 1.4 Conclusion
      • References
    • 2 Methods (126KB PDF)
      • 2.1 Data elements
      • 2.2 Statistical methods
      • 2.3 Changes over time
      • 2.4 Extrapolated national estimates
      • 2.5 Classification and coding of data
      • 2.6 Changes to data elements
      • 2.7 Understanding BEACH encounter data
      • 2.8 Supplementary Analysis of Nominated Data
      • References
    • 3 General practice workforce and workload (112KB PDF)
      • 3.1 General practice workforce
      • 3.2 General practice workload: policy, population and patients
      • 3.3 Conclusion
      • References
    • 4 GP clinical activity (163KB PDF)
      • 4.1 Patient reasons for encounter
      • 4.2 Problems managed at GP encounters
      • 4.3 Management actions at encounter
      • 4.4 Length of consultation
      • 4.5 Discussion
      • 4.6 Conclusion
      • References
    • 5 GP pathology ordering (177KB PDF)
      • 5.1 Background
      • 5.2 Method
      • 5.3 Changes in pathology ordering 2000-02 to2006-08
      • 5.4 National Health Priority Areas
      • 5.5 Other problems with high rates of pathology ordering
      • 5.6 Implications of high volume of tests
      • 5.7 Conclusion
      • References
    • 6 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients (152KB PDF)
      • 6.1 The Indigenous population
      • 6.2 Policies and initiatives
      • 6.3 BEACH encounters with Indigenous patients
      • 6.4 Encounters by patient residential location
      • 6.5 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services
      • 6.6 Patient risk factors
      • 6.7 Discussion
      • 6.8 Conclusion
      • References
    • 7 Overweight and obesity (140KB PDF)
      • 7.1 Background
      • 7.2 Method
      • 7.3 BEACH prevalence of overweight/obesity in adults
      • 7.4 BEACH prevalence of overweight/obesity in children aged 2-17 years
      • 7.5 Length of consultation by patient BMI
      • 7.6 Discussion
      • 7.7 Conclusion
      • References
    • 8 Respiratory problems (170KB PDF)
      • 8.1 Background
      • 8.2 Most common respiratory problems managed
      • 8.3 Influenza vaccinations
      • 8.4 Asthma
      • 8.5 Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
      • 8.6 Antibiotic use in respiratory problems
      • 8.7 Upper respiratory tract infection (URTI)
      • References
    • 9 Cardiovascular problems (180KB PDF)
      • 9.1 Background
      • 9.2 Cardiac problems
      • 9.3 Vascular and lipid problems
      • 9.4 Cerebrovascular problems
      • 9.5 Health risk behaviours among patients with cardiovascular and/or lipid problems managed
      • 9.6 Management of hypertension 2007-08
      • 9.7 Management of ischaemic heart disease
      • 9.8 Discussion
      • References
    • 10 Type 2 diabetes (121KB PDF)
      • 10.1 Background
      • 10.2 Prevalence of Type 2 diabetes in general practice patients
      • 10.3 Multimorbidity occurring with diabetes
      • 10.4 Investigations
      • 10.5 Management
      • 10.6 Time use of patients with Type 2 diabetes
      • 10.7 Management of Type 2 diabetes in 2007-08
      • 10.8 Discussion
      • 10.9 Conclusion
      • References
    • 11 Arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions (164KB PDF)
      • 11.1 Background
      • 11.2 Overview of musculoskeletal problems managed
      • 11.3 Arthritis
      • 11.4 Osteoporosis
      • 11.5 Back complaints
      • 11.6 Work-related musculoskeletal problems
      • 11.7 Discussion
      • 11.8 Conclusion
      • References
    • 12 Injury (126KB PDF)
      • 12.1 Background
      • 12.2 Policies and initiatives
      • 12.3 Management rates in general practice
      • 12.4 Age and sex distribution
      • 12.5 Management
      • 12.6 Groups at risk of an injury
      • 12.7 Discussion
      • 12.8 Conclusion
      • References
    • 13 Cancer (125KB PDF)
      • 13.1 Background
      • 13.2 Policies and initiatives
      • 13.3 Management rates in general practice
      • 13.4 Management rates by patient sex
      • 13.5 Human Papillomavirus vaccine
      • 13.6 Referrals to medical specialists
      • 13.7 Procedural treatments
      • 13.8 Pathology test orders
      • 13.9 Discussion
      • 13.10 Conclusion
      • References
    • 14 Mental health (180KB PDF)
      • 14.1 Background
      • 14.2 Management of psychological problems at BEACH encounters
      • 14.3 Management of depression
      • 14.4 Management of anxiety
      • 14.5 Management of drug and alcohol problems
      • 14.6 Management of schizophrenia in 2007-08
      • 14.7 Management of bipolar disorder in 2005-08
      • 14.8 Discussion
      • References
    • 15 Sexual health (132KB PDF)
      • 15.1 Background
      • 15.2 Sexual dysfunction in men
      • 15.3 Sexual dysfunction in women
      • 15.4 Pregnancy and family planning
      • 15.5 Sexually transmitted infections
      • 15.6 Discussion
      • References
    • 16 Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (124KB PDF)
      • 16.1 Background, policies and initiatives
      • 16.2 Prevalence in general practice patients
      • 16.3 Multimorbidity occurring with GORD
      • 16.4 Management in general practice
      • 16.5 Therapeutic management
      • 16.6 Overview of management of GORD in 2006-08
      • 16.7 Discussion
      • 16.8 Conclusion
      • References
  • End matter (294KB PDF)
    • Glossary
    • Appendices
      • Appendix 1: Example of a 2007-08 recording form
      • Appendix 2: GP characteristics questionnaire, 2007-08
      • Appendix 3: Code groups from ICPC-2 and ICPC-2 PLUS 1
    • List of tables
    • List of figures

Additional material

Notes and corrections

The current version of the publication is presented above. Previous versions of files that have been updated or corrected are presented below.

  1. Appendix 3 was not available as part of the printed copy. (14 September 2009)

Recommended citation

Britt H, Miller GC, Charles J, Valenti L, Fahridin S, Pan Y, Harrison C, Bayram C, O'Halloran J & Henderson J 2009. General practice in Australia, health priorities and policies 1998 to 2008. Cat. no. GEP 24. Canberra: AIHW. Viewed 23 July 2017 <http://www.aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=6442468257>.

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