General practice research: an investment to improve the health of all Australians

Jo‐Anne E Manski‐Nankervis, Elizabeth A Sturgiss, Siaw‐Teng Liaw, Geoffrey K Spurling and Danielle Mazza
Med J Aust 2020; 212 (9): . || doi: 10.5694/mja2.50589
Published online: 27 April 2020

Opportunities to recognise and invest in general practice research need to be realised

General practice research is essential to quality general practice, building an evidence base for over 27 000 general practitioners working within the specialty who provide medical care to the majority of Australians.1 Over eight in ten Australians consult with their GP at least once per year, and two million people are seen each week in general practice.2,3 General practice, a medical specialty, is the first point of access to the health system, providing longitudinal care for all. It is essential for the delivery of efficient, equitable and effective health care services.4 General practice is unique, complex and continuing to evolve. A GP must have a good working knowledge of 167 problems to cover 85% of the conditions that they see most frequently,5 and management of multimorbidity has become the norm. The number of general practices appears to be declining, practices are becoming larger, and the proportion of GPs who are practice owners is decreasing.6 General practice research is key to optimising health care in this evolving context, but needs to be supported by the profession, funders and our professional colleges.

  • 1 University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC
  • 2 Monash University, Melbourne, VIC
  • 3 UNSW Sydney, Sydney, NSW
  • 4 Ingham Institute of Applied Medical Research, Sydney, NSW
  • 5 University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD


Competing interests:

All authors are members of the Australasian Association for Academic Primary Care (AAAPC) and the RACGP Expert Committee – Research, for which they receive sitting fees. Jo‐Anne Manski‐Nankervis is supported by an MRFF Next Generation Clinical Researcher TRIP Fellowship and receives research funding from the RACGP Foundation. Elizabeth Sturgiss is supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Investigator Grant (EL1) and is Conference Subcommittee Chair for the AAAPC. Siaw‐Teng Liaw receives sitting fees as Chair of the RACGP National Research and Evaluation Ethics Committee and has received research funding from the Australian Research Council (ARC), the NHMRC, the Ramaciotti Foundations and the HCF Research Foundation. Geoffrey Spurling is supported by an NHMRC Investigator Grant (EL1) and has received funding from the ARC and RACGP Foundation. Danielle Mazza has received research funding, speaker fees and travel support to attend conferences from Bayer and MSD.


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