The inverse care law is alive and well in general practice

John F O'Dea and Roger J Kilham
Med J Aust 2002; 177 (2): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2002.tb04671.x
Published online: 15 July 2002

Widespread availability of quality general practice services is the key to the Australian healthcare system.1 The general practitioner is the gatekeeper. Lack of access to general practitioners flows on to lack of access to specialist and tertiary healthcare, thereby challenging key principles of Medicare such as universality and equity.

  • 1 Australian Medical Association, Kingston, ACT.
  • 2 Access Economics Pty Ltd, Kingston, ACT.

  • 1. Commonwealth Department of Health and Family Services. General Practice. Changing the future through partnerships. Report of the General Practice Strategy Review Group. Canberra: The Department, 1998.
  • 2. Expansion of medical education. Report of the Committee on Medical Schools to the Australian Universities Commission (Karmel P, chairman). Canberra: AGPS, 1971.
  • 3. Efficiency and administration of hospitals — Royal Commission of Inquiry (Jamison JH, chairman). Parliamentary paper No. 20/1981. Canberra: AGPS, 1981.
  • 4. Australian medical workforce benchmarks. Report 1996.1. Canberra: Australian Medical Workforce Advisory Committee and Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, January 1996.
  • 5. The general practice workforce in Australia. Report 2000.2. Canberra: Australian Medical Workforce Advisory Committee, August 2000.
  • 6. Medical workforce supply and demand in Australia — a discussion paper. Report 1998.8. Canberra: Australian Medical Workforce Advisory Committee, October 1998.
  • 7. Access Economics. Primary health care for all Australians — an analysis of the widening gap between community need and the availability of GP services. A Report to the Australian Medical Association. Canberra: Access Economics, February 2002.
  • 8. Hart J. The inverse care law. Lancet 1971; 1: 405-412.
  • 9. Furler JS, Harris E, Chondros P, et al. The inverse care law revisited: impact of disadvantaged location on accessing longer GP consultation times. Med J Aust 2002; 177: 80-83. <eMJA full text>
  • 10. Transatlantic Roundtable on high-skilled migration and sending countries issues. Brussels, November 19-20, 2001. <> - no longer available
  • 11. Vertovec S. Transnational networks and skilled labour migration (WPTC-02-02). Paper presented at the Ladenburger Diskurs "Migration" Gottlieb Daimler- und Karl Benz-Stiftung, Ladenburg, 14-15 February 2002. Available at <>


remove_circle_outline Delete Author
add_circle_outline Add Author

Do you have any competing interests to declare? *

I/we agree to assign copyright to the Medical Journal of Australia and agree to the Conditions of publication *
I/we agree to the Terms of use of the Medical Journal of Australia *
Email me when people comment on this article

Online responses are no longer available. Please refer to our instructions for authors page for more information.