In the MJA

18 Jul 2019

The latest issue of the MJA is out now and features a range of articles of interest to GPs. Among the research papers and letters this month is a perspective piece on the National Rural Generalist Pathway, and new Australian clinical practice guidelines for diagnosing and managing work‐related mental health conditions in general practice.

Professor Paul Worley, the National Rural Health Commissioner, and his colleagues have written about the need for a National Rural Generalist Pathway in Australia to help overcome the inequity in health outcomes between rural and remote Australians and Australians living in metropolitan centres by delivering a sustainable rural medical workforce.

Assessing the nation’s rural health service as a medical patient, the authors conclude that the system is relying on “dialysis” in the form of city-based systems, locums and overseas-trained doctors. The solution lies in “locally led continuous rural teaching health service networks” which will lead to more permanent, adequately trained doctors to meet the needs of their communities.

Professor Worley discusses Pathway on the MJA podcast which you can listen to here.

Elsewhere in the latest issue, a guideline summary for diagnosing and managing work‐related mental health conditions in general practice is outlined by the authors. The guidelines were developed in response to GPs reporting that there are challenges with managing workplace mental health conditions (MHCs) in patients.

The guidelines are intended to encourage the use of appropriate tools to assist the diagnosis and determine the severity of MHCs, more comprehensive clinical assessment, and collaboration with other health professionals among other actions.

The guidelines are approved by the National Health and Medical Research Council and endorsed by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine.

Also of interest is an article on the need for “radical change” in providing care for the elderly on MJA InSight+. The article outlines the views of Professor Dimity Pond, Professor of General Practice at the University of Newcastle, who argues that remuneration and support for GPs needs to change in order to provide the best level of care.

The article discusses the role that GPs can play in preventing hospitalisations of people over the age of 65, but the current system does not facilitate this. It also calls for more funding for residential aged care facilities and the introduction of medical “navigators”.

You can read the full issue of the MJA here and read MJA InSight+ here.