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Research leads to better health care.

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Minister for Health and Ageing



Australian research into primary health care has identified new and better ways for GPs to treat and manage common problems including diabetes, asthma, and wounds.

A report issued today, “Snapshot of Australian Primary Health Care Research” showcases a selection of research projects which have influenced day to day medicine or health policy.

The research was funded through the Australian Government’s Primary Health Care Research, Evaluation and Development Strategy (PHCRED). PHCRED funds research to produce evidence that can improve health care services, help to reduce the burden of chronic disease and improve quality of life.

Examples highlighted in the report include:

• Improved care for diabetes patients. The research confirmed for the first time that patients whose GPs drew up multidisciplinary care plans had improved metabolic control and cardiovascular risk. • That systemic barriers to good hygiene were a major factor in children’s poor health

in Indigenous communities. This study also pointed to solutions to break down the barriers to hygiene and health improvements. • Use of antibiotics for acute bronchitis. The study found that while more than 60 per cent of GPs prescribed antibiotics for acute coughs, the antibiotics had no significant

effect on the duration of the bronchitis episode. • Wound management. The study found that patients who covered their sutured wounds for only 12 hours and allowed them to get wet had no higher rates of infection than those who kept their wounds covered and dry for the traditional period of 48 hours. • Psychological impact of common skin diseases. This study found that many of the

millions of Australians who suffer from acne, psoriasis, eczema and other skin diseases experience significant levels of psychological suffering.

Primary care is a key priority for the Australian Government. An effective, accessible and affordable primary care system is essential to keeping Australians healthy and out of hospital.

The government is reforming the health system to increase the focus on evidence-based medicine, through initiatives such as the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission and development of a National Primary Health Care Strategy.

The “Snapshot” report demonstrates the potential for research to provide practical improvements in the health of Australians in many communities, both now and in the future.

Conducting research is also beneficial for the primary health care health workforce as it encourages an inquiring approach to the delivery of health care.

A copy of the report is available from

Media contact: Sean Kelly - 0417 108 362