GP'S providing fewer consultations

August 15, 2006

The ageing GP workforce and more female doctors are only small pieces of the puzzle causing the drop in services provided by GPs - they're also just not providing as many consultations, new research shows.

According to Mr Ian McRae, a PhD student at the Australian Centre for Economic Research on Health based at ANU, consultations provided by doctors dropped by eight per cent per GP over the period between 1996 and 2003.

In his study, Australian General Practice. Where have the GP services gone?, Mr McRae found that if GPs in 2003 were providing the same average level of services in 1996, there should have been an increase in services by 3.9 per cent, but "in fact, the number of services delivered has declined".

According to Mr McRae, in 1996-1997 Australian GPs provided about 103 million services to patients, compared to 2004-2005 when about 98 million services were provided to patients, a decrease of 6.6 per cent.

While GP services increased steadily from 1984-85 (when Medicare was introduced) to the mid-1990s, they were in decline from 1997 to 2003.

Previous estimates on workforce requirements for general practice have laid the blame for decreased services on an ageing and an increasingly 'feminised' workforce, but Mr McRae's said the fact was that GPs are now providing fewer services to the public.

"Even taking into consideration the fact doctors are getting older and are more likely to female, there should still have been an increase in services delivered between 1996 and 2003. GP's are simply not delivering the same numbers of consultations as previous generations," Mr McRae said.

"Neither feminisation or ageing have had the impact we expected, but that is not to say they should be discounted and will not impact in the future. But we have shown that these factors are only a small piece in the puzzle that has led to fewer general practice services for Australia."
More information:

Mr Ian McRae
Australian Centre for Economic Research on Health
+61 2 6125 5602

Research Australia

Related Ageing Articles from Brightsurf:

Cell ageing can be slowed by oxidants
At high concentrations, reactive oxygen species - known as oxidants - are harmful to cells in all organisms and have been linked to ageing.

Identified a subgroup of stem cells that resists ageing and maintains muscle regeneration
For the first time the researchers have demonstrated in a study in mice that not all muscle stem cells age equally, and have identified a subgroup with greater regenerative capacity which is maintained until geriatric age.

Ultra-processed food consumption is associated with chromosomal changes linked to biological ageing
A new study has shed light on the link between the consumption of ultra-processed foods (UPF) and the shortening of telomeres; sections of chromosomes that can be used as a marker of biological age.

The CNIO pave the way for a future gene therapy to reverse pulmonary fibrosis associated with ageing
''Our results indicate that a new therapy may be developed to prevent the development of pulmonary fibrosis associated with ageing,'' says CNIO's Maria Blasco, principal investigator of the study * Lung tissue of patients with pulmonary fibrosis does not regenerate because the cells involved in lung generation have damaged telomeres, the ends of the chromosomes.

Blood iron levels could be key to slowing ageing, gene study shows
Genes linked to ageing that could help explain why some people age at different rates to others have been identified by scientists.

Circular RNA makes fruit flies live longer
The molecule influences the insulin signalling pathway and thus prolongs life

Age research: A low level of the stress hormone cortisol contributes to the ageing process
Why do we age? What exactly is happening in our bodies?

Otago research reveals how mating influences females' life history and ageing
New University of Otago research provides insight into how males influence their mates' health, growth and fertility.

How to slow down ageing?
Healthy ageing has become one of the priorities of research in Europe.

Newly confirmed biochemical mechanism in cells is key component of the anti-ageing program
Scientists from Russia, Germany and Switzerland now confirmed a mechanism in mouse, bat and naked mole rat cells -- a 'mild depolarization' of the inner mitochondrial membrane -- that is linked to ageing: Mild depolarization regulates the creation of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (mROS) in cells and is therefore a mechanism of the anti-ageing program.

Read More: Ageing News and Ageing Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to