GPs most efficient part of health system

Demand for GP services swelled at about twice the rate of the nation’s population growth in the decade to 2013–14.

But that’s only one measure of the increased reliance on primary care highlighted by the BEACH (Bettering the Evaluation and Care of Health) program of the Family Medicine Research Centre at the University of Sydney in two new reports.

“The growth in the workload doesn’t hit you until you put together the increase in visits, the slightly longer consultations and the number of problems managed. It’s just enormous,” said lead researcher Associate Professor Helena Britt.

The new data indicates GP-patient encounters in 2013–14 rose by 35 million (36%) from 10 years before, including 17 million more consults with patients aged 65 or older, up 67%.

A conspicuous jump in services to the 80-plus age group also reflected the demands of Australia’s ageing population.