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Survey to reveal trends in general practice

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NIE W § Brian H o w e

RELEASEDeputy Prime Minister Minister for Health, Housing and Community Services ΒΗ241/92 19 October 1992


A report of a comprehensive survey of trends in general practice was launched today by the Federal Minister for Health, Housing and Community Services, Brian Howe.

"This invaluable information about trends in general practice will have a major impact on the training of health professionals and the health system as a whole," he said.

Mr Howe launched the report of "The Survey of Morbidity and Treatment in General Practice in Australia 1990-91" at the University of Sydney.

The survey commenced in 1990 and is the third national survey of morbidity in general practice. The first two were in 1962-63 and from 1969 to 1974.

"This latest survey is a rich source of data waiting to be tapped," Mr Howe said.

"Such comprehensive data on the people who go to GPs, their age and characteristics, their medical conditions, how often they attend and what treatments they receive, will enable policy-makers to make better informed decisions about health care.

"This survey will shed light on areas of medical practice where in the past no quality data has been available.

"It comes at a time when important changes are taking place in general practice."

Mr Howe said survey would assist in better designing training to meet the needs of GPs.

"It will also help us to better understand the reasons why people go to GPs, which will assist in the targeting of national health campaigns to educate people about health and making appropriate choices in seeking health care," he said.

"Very importantly, the survey will tell us what conditions GPs encounter in their practices which will provide us with data about the incidence of these conditions in the community.


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"It will reveal vital information about referrals and the reasons for these referrals. This referral process highlights the role of GPs as gatekeepers of our health system.

"This can broaden the picture we get from specialists and hospitals about patterns of community need and what sort of health services people require."

Mr Howe said the survey will highlight the balance of services being provided between general practice and other parts of the health system, such as hospitals, which will help governments better match health funding with community needs.

The survey was sponsored by the Department of Health, Housing and Community Services and conducted by a team of researchers, headed by Professor Charles Bridge-Webb, from the Family Medicine Research Unit at the University of Sydney.

Further information: Jane Robinson, Mr Howe's Office (06) 277 7680 Sue Elliott, HHCS (06) 289 3606