Prioritising general practice research

Tania M Winzenberg and Gerard F Gill
Med J Aust 2016; 205 (2): 55-57. || doi: 10.5694/mja16.00578

Cuts to federal funding put us in grave danger of wasting the investment made to achieve current gains in research capacity

General practice is critical to the provision of primary health care (PHC) for Australians. About 85% of the Australian population claim at least one general practice service from Medicare per year.1 Over 137 million such consultations were delivered by 33 279 general practitioners in 2014–15.1 In 2011–12, PHC spending was $50.6 billion (36.1% of total health expenditure), with $28.6 billion spent on predominantly general practice-based medical services and medications.2 Multiple studies have shown that a strong PHC system is associated with greater efficiency, lower rates of hospitalisation, fewer health inequalities and better health outcomes, including lower mortality.3 Thus, ensuring that the cornerstone of PHC delivery, general practice, has a robust evidence base is of paramount importance. Despite this, there are major gaps in the evidence supporting clinical practice and health service delivery in general practice.

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  • Tania M Winzenberg1
  • Gerard F Gill2

  • 1 Menzies Institute for Medical Research and Faculty of Health, University of Tasmania, Hobart, TAS
  • 2 Deakin University, Geelong, VIC

Competing interests:

Tania Winzenberg is Chair of the RACGP Expert Committee – Research and a member of the Australasian Association for Academic Primary Care and has at various points in her career been supported by the PHCRED program. Gerard Gill has previously been a member of the RACGP Council (2002), the RACGP National Research Committee (1994–2000) and the Australian Medical Association Council of General Practice (1991).

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