Patients reluctant to use GPs for preventive care

PATIENT perceptions that GPs are too expensive and should only be consulted for acute problems may be hampering their role in preventive care, a recent study published in the MJA has suggested.

A qualitative study carried out by researchers at Monash University based on focus groups involving 85 community members, also identified a lack of patient knowledge about what type of preventive care was relevant to them, as well as lack of access to extended time with their doctor, as key barriers to GP preventive care.

While government screening initiatives such as the National Cervical Screening Program and BreastScreen were well accepted by study participants many were unaware of other preventive activities covered by the MBS such as the 45–49 year old health assessment.

Professor Mark Harris, executive director of the Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity at the University of NSW, said patients often perceived that “GPs are there for