Kids being ‘crowded out’ of GP care

PAEDIATRICIANS are warning that children could be “crowded out” of non-acute and preventive care visits in Australian general practices if the ageing population of adults continues to take priority.

Longer life expectancies have resulted in children becoming a smaller proportion of the population, despite their absolute numbers increasing, leading to concerns they may be neglected as primary healthcare struggles to cater to the elderly. 

Australian data from the Bettering the Evaluation and Care of Health (BEACH) program shows a decline across the country in the proportion of GP visits by patients younger than 15 years.

In an MJA editorial, paediatricians and a general practice academic said due to the ageing population, GPs will have relatively static patient numbers, less patient turnover, and fewer opportunities to add new paediatric patients. 

Trends in the US suggested that some GPs may limit or discontinue