The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has launched the second annual General Practice: Health of the Nation – a health check-up for Australia’s primary health system.
President-elect Dr Harry Nespolon has noted the unique experiences of those patients seeing their GPs every day in the regions and the bush compared to the cities.
“Like their city counterparts, the major health issue facing regional and rural Australians is mental health,” Dr Nespolon said.
“However, country GPs report some significant differences from their experiences working in communities outside of larger, metropolitan areas.
“Endocrine and metabolic conditions (including diabetes) are the second most common presentation to GPs in the bush, compared to being the fourth most common patient presentation in the cities.
“Diabetes is much more prevalent in these areas, with regional Australians more likely to be diagnosed with type 1 or 2 diabetes.
“If I could say one thing to patients outside of the major cities, know you are not alone and that when properly managed in partnership with your GP these conditions do not need to control your life.
“The Government must provide a more holistic approach to chronic conditions, including mental health, in regional and rural areas. This must involve increasing the patient Medicare rebate to allow patients to spend the time needed with their GP to stay healthy and out of hospital.
Other key differences noted in the report include;
· GPs are the most accessible medical specialist in regional and remote areas
· Uneven GP distribution to rural and regional areas could be impacting patient access, with 33% of patients having to wait 24 hours or more to see their GP compared to only 24% for metropolitan areas, and
· GPs in regional and rural areas work longer hours, with 53% working more than 40 hours a week, compared to 39% of GPs working in metropolitan areas
To read the report please go to racgp.org.au/healthofthenation
Ellie Yates [email protected] 0428 122 357
Health Diabetes RACGP