Researchers propose steps to ‘reinvigorate’ general practice

Press/Media: Expert Comment


A team of Australian GPs have put forward a plan for general practice – but are these steps realistic for the average practice?


Primary Care reform

General Practice

Health Learning Systems

Period7 Mar 2023

Media contributions


Media contributions

  • TitleResearchers propose steps to ‘reinvigorate’ general practice
    Degree of recognitionNational
    Media name/outletNews GP
    Media typeWeb
    DescriptionA team of Australian GPs have put forward a plan for general practice – but are these steps realistic for the average practice?

    ...Professor Mark Morgan, who is Chair of the RACGP Expert Committee – Quality Care, said Dr Foo and his co-authors have ‘beautifully summarised’ the challenges general practice is facing both in Australia and abroad. Though he believes LHSs ‘sound wonderful’ in theory, he told newsGP he doesn’t think the approach is practical for the average practice.

    ‘It is hard to imagine implementing this in practices struggling to meet patient demand, recruiting the next GP and maintaining income in the face of inadequate patient rebates,’ Professor Morgan said.

    The Queensland-based GP acknowledges that LHSs do incentivise high-value care, but he says how this can be achieved has yet to be established.

    ‘LHSs use real-time informatics so that GP team members can continuously improve without formalised plan-do-study-act cycles,’ he said.

    ‘These real-time dashboards, reports, prescribing alerts and care prompts are built into software programs such as Primary Sense. But some of the features are yet to be widely available, such as the digital capture of patient-reported experience measures.

    ‘Plus, it is all too easy to design pay-for-performance systems that lead to unintended consequences when patient choice or complexity does not align with the system.’

    While Professor Morgan believes that working within an LHS would enhance ‘the sense of professionalism and joy’ in the workplace, he says Australia first needs some rescue policies to ‘pull general practice out of the hole it is falling into’.

    ‘You only have to look at the short-sighted and destructive machinations over payroll tax to see how little our sector is understood by government departments,’ he said.

    ‘For positive change to occur, GPs need to be seen as a valuable resource providing essential healthcare services. Instead, we seem to be viewed as an expense to be capped.’
    Producer/AuthorAnastasia Tsirtsakis
    PersonsMark Morgan