Supporting GPs will make a healthy system great

Key to that success is the training and professionalism of our GPs and their central role. But with GPs now faced with funding changes, spiralling red tape, clinical advances and increasing practice costs, I don’t think we’re doing enough to support them.

There are more than 25,000 GPs across Australia. But like all doctors, they tend to hug the coast or stay in big cities. Accessing a GP in hours, let alone after hours can be problematic.

The person best trained to deal with their medical problems is often stretched or not available. Hospitals can be left to fill the gap.

Medical providers are funded on a fee-for-service basis with no obligation by the doctor or patient to commit to a longitudinal clinical relationship.

It still happens of course, and in my previous life as a busy GP, I found it a great privilege to be the GP to entire families — sometimes up to four generations.