Save our GPs! Local doctors are the key to our good health, so why aren’t they better funded? 63



View Profile

Australia’s entire health system is under review at the moment, with the health minster looking for ways to make Medicare sustainable for the future.

Inevitably, the conversation turns to the ageing population and how everyone’s going to “cope” with us when we start falling apart. But a new study says the answer is right under our nose.

Two reports by the BEACH research program of the University of Sydney’s Family Medicine Research Centre have shown just how important our local doctor is in maintaining the health of over-65s and also keeping costs down.

They found that older Australians use twice as many health resources as the rest of the nation, and almost all of us have a regular doctor or medical practice that we visit.

When comparing Australia’s healthcare costs to other countries, the researchers found that Australia spends around half as much per person than in the US, even though our average life expectancy is four years longer. The difference, say the authors, is that our health model is based on “primary cars” – that is, using GPs as “gatekeepers’ to more expensive care.

“We found that older Australians use far more primary care health resources and the proportion they are using is increasing over time. However, having these patients managed in general practice lowers overall health care costs by reducing expensive specialist and hospital visits, write the study authors.”

“If general practice wasn’t at the core of our health care system, it’s likely the overall costs of health care would be much higher.”

“This is the price Australia pays for good health, but we would argue this price is very reasonable,” say the study authors.

They recommend that any health care review include more funding for GPs and better access for all Australians.

This fascinating infographic shows how Australians over the age of 65 are using their GPs – where  do you fit in?


Over60s Gps


Do you think more money should be spent on local doctors? Do you have a good GP?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Yes, I do have a very good GP. I have to go back every 6 months, unless something happens in between, to get blood pressure medication, and she checks my blood pressure. I have a lot of faith in her.

  2. Rarely see the same doctor twice in a row in our country clinic staffed by foreign doctors doing their compulsory stint. I often only go to the doctor to get a fresh set of prescriptions. Just extending regular prescriptions by three months would save money I am sure.

    5 REPLY
    • Absolutely. It’s stupidity wasting the GPs time for another script every 6 months and again for getting a referral to the same specialist 12 months.

    • That’s how I feel. Rarely when I have gone in for blood pressure and cholesterol tablets have I actually had any testing done. Last time I had my blood pressure checked it was after I had a succession of blood noses and the clinic nurse tested it.. When I next have to have a colonoscopy as part of my monitoring for polyps I will have to first go to the GP to get a referral despite the specialist monitoring the frequency and sending me the appointment details. Why it is no new condition, there is nothing the GP can do anyway.

    • If on medications you should see your GP at least 6 monthly or sooner depending on your condition/ medications. I think of it this way, “would you drive your car for 12 months without checking the tyres” . For instance, diabetics need ongoing monitoring of their disease e.g through blood tests, B/P, weight, etc

    • Yes Judy without a doubt it is necessary to monitor some conditions and it would be appropriate to have no more than a six month prescription period. My husband needs six month monitoring for his health. There are others though where it could be extended. I’ve gone into get a new script for blood pressure medication and they haven’t even checked my blood pressure, cholesterol they rarely check too.

    • Thats sad Barbara this is the case with you. I work in general practice and these simple tests and monitoring are essential.

  3. Every time I get a good GP, they leave. I’m not happy with anyone in the practice at the moment but scared to leave and try and find a new one.

  4. Have a great GP that I have been going to for 20+ years…only problem have to wait HOURS to see him. Love ya Don !

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *