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Primary care services and emergency medicine

Drew B Richardson
Med J Aust 2010; 192 (8): 429-430.
Published online: 19 April 2010

Putting to rest the myth that emergency department overcrowding is due to a lack of primary care services

Australia’s emergency departments (EDs) are dangerously overcrowded, but a study by Buckley and colleagues in this issue of the Journal1 should be the last nail in the coffin of the long-discredited myth that the root cause is a lack of primary care services. This study used a time series approach to identify a real — but clinically insignificant — change in ED workload after the opening of an after-hours primary care service in the New South Wales inland rural city of Wagga Wagga. The Australian public are entitled to receive high-quality and available care in both primary care and emergency settings, but the overlap between these services is not as important as many have claimed.2,3

  • Drew B Richardson

  • Australian National University Medical School, Canberra, ACT.


Competing interests:

My unit has received research funding from the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine.

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