Medical Journal of Australia— General Practice Research, Fitness to Drive, and RACF employed GPs
In the latest issue of the Medical Journal of Australia, a new article warns that Australians may experience poorer health outcomes unless recognition and funding of general practice research is supported and enhanced with long-term investment into research training and funding.
Here the authors highlight that general practice has been underfunded for many years in Australia, which has reduced the appeal of the profession due to a lack of academic opportunities, and risks research outcomes being unfit for the general practice environment as GPs become less involved in research over time.
They outline several new initiatives to support primary care research, but call for greater investment in general practice research and infrastructure in Australia that reflects the size of general practice, the population it serves and the proportion of associated Medicare spend.
Another article outlines that assessing fitness to drive in older people remains one of the more challenging duties of a general practitioner, and that there is a need for a validated objective toolkit to support GPs’ clinical judgement and aid discussions about the need for on-road testing or driving cessation.
New research found that directly employing GPs in aged care facilities improved health outcomes for residents, with a 50% reduction in unplanned hospital transfers and admissions. There was also a decline in the number of out-of-hours GP callouts. An onsite GP influenced the reporting of adverse events, which may account for the 37% increase in the reported number of falls in the aged care facility. The authors highlighted that the role of GPs in residential aged care facilities requires further investigation, and that this should include the economic efficiency of direct employment of GPs by aged care homes.
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