Patients most at risk of missing out on non-COVID healthcare

Press/Media: Expert Comment

Description

New data aims to help GPs prioritise certain patient cohorts to mitigate future risk. But with the system under pressure, is this realistic?

Subject

Cancer Screening

Preventative health

Primary Care

Period17 Jan 2022

Media contributions

1

Media contributions

  • TitlePatients most at risk of missing out on non-COVID healthcare
    Degree of recognitionNational
    Media name/outletNews GP
    Media typeWeb
    Country/TerritoryAustralia
    Date17/01/22
    DescriptionNew data aims to help GPs prioritise certain patient cohorts to mitigate future risk. But with the system under pressure, is this realistic?...
    Queensland GP and Chair of RACGP Expert Committee – Quality Care (REC–QC), Professor Mark Morgan is equally concerned about the long-term impacts of the past two years on patient health outcomes.

    ‘[The late Dr Julian] Tudor Hart is credited with first describing the Inverse Care Law in which the most needy populations receive the least access to healthcare,’ he told newsGP.

    ‘[And] COVID-19 has demonstrated that the Inverse Care Law is alive and well, 50 years later.

    ‘Patients living with serious mental illness, for example, are six times more likely to die of cardiovascular diseases and there is a 20-year life expectancy gap.

    ‘Cancer screening has been disrupted by the pandemic and modelling has demonstrated the price we will pay for this disruption.’

    Professor Morgan says the ability to reach out to patients using telehealth can help to reduce access barriers, as can the use of routinely recorded data to prioritise patient needs and prompt preventive care in the highest risk patients.

    Though he agrees that GPs are well placed for the task, he says in the current climate, practices are under enormous pressure amid soaring infection rates and increased workloads.

    ‘The RACGP Vision is for general practice to not only focus on the patient in front of you, but to be comprehensive, coordinated and accessible to all the patients of the GP practice,’ Professor Morgan said.

    ‘This is a “population health” approach, [and] it works best when GPs know who their patients are and are funded to use a team approach to proactive preventive care.

    ‘But first, GPs need to get past the almost impossible demands of rolling out [booster] vaccines to adults and COVID-19 vaccines to children, while simultaneously coping with vast amounts of community sickness and anxiety. All of this in the context of being short staffed and a massive shortfall in rural workforce.’
    Producer/AuthorAnastasia Tsirtsakis
    PersonsMark Morgan