Complex care demands on GPs highlight their central role in integrated care
The finding that psychological issues are a leading reason patients see GPs highlights the importance of the GPs’ role as the first base for health concerns in the community.
The Health of the Nation report released by the Royal Australian College of GPs today reveals mental health issues like depression and anxiety are among the most common ailments reported by 61 per cent of GPs.
“That is a disturbingly high figure. It is also the issue causing GPs most concern for the future,” the CEO of the Consumers Health Forum, Leanne Wells, said.
“The next most commonly mentioned as emerging issues by GPs are obesity and diabetes. The prevalence of these conditions, all of which raise complex challenges for the most skilled GP, underlines the need for a well-coordinated and integrated health system in the community.
“The Consumers Health Forum recognises the GP as the pivotal figure in primary health care who needs more support through such measures as the Government’s Health Care Homes, initiating more integrated care of those with chronic and complex conditions.
“At a recent Consumers Roundtable meeting with Health Minister, Greg Hunt, we set out priorities for a National Health Plan to strengthen Australia’s primary health system, making it more consumer-centred, prevention-oriented and integrated with hospital and social care.
“We also called for more investment in health systems research, shaped by consumer and community priorities, to stimulate services that reflect advances in health sciences and knowledge.
“Too often Australians, particularly those with chronic illness, are confounded by our fragmented health system.
“We have world class health practitioners and hospitals. But these are disconnected so that patients don’t get the comprehensive top-quality care that should be routine.
“Investing in primary health care led by GPs is the way to a better performing and more consumer-responsive health system,” Ms Wells said.