GPs have a profound influence on both health outcomes and health expenditures. It is estimated that primary healthcare professionals control or influence approximately 80 per cent of healthcare costs, which means that they have an important role to play in ensuring that health expenditure remains sustainable.
The AMA has a vision for the future of primary health care in Australia.
Patient care should be integrated and well-coordinated by supporting general practices to build multidisciplinary healthcare teams to meet their patients’ needs. These GP-led teams will be better placed to manage and reduce the risk of patient comorbidities and reduce adverse medication events through increased access to a broad range of health expertise.
Data-driven quality care initiatives will improve patient outcomes through evidence-based health care.
General practice will be seen as a rewarding and inspiring career by new medical graduates to generate a sustainable GP workforce.
A well-distributed medical workforce will ensure all Australians have equitable access to care regardless of their location. Data-driven quality incentives will also inform where specialised health care providers are needed to support area-specific patient needs. Achieving the AMA’s vision will lead to a reduction in preventable hospitalisations that will ultimately result in efficient delivery and cost of primary care in Australia.
Here, the AMA outlines the importance of, and growing demands on general practice in Australia, some immediate funding goals that will ease the financial pressures on general practice, and long-term reforms for general practice that should be implemented as part of the Federal Government’s 10-year Primary Health Care Plan. The AMA’s long-term reforms will ensure the economic sustainability of general practice in the face of an ageing population that is burdened by chronic and complex disease.