Demand for GPs in Australia is increasing.
With increased life expectancy and decreasing birth rates, the population of Australia is getting older. The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates the proportion of Australians aged of 65 years or older will increase to 18.6% by 2030. Older patients visit GP clinics twice as often as the rest of the population which puts increased strain on health care services.
Over the past 15 years alone, older patients visiting medical clinics has increased by 22%. Chronic conditions are also common with 90% of those 65 years or older having at least one diagnosed Chronic condition. Many older patients will have more than one diagnosed chronic condition and many older patients will require multiple prescriptions. Compared to the rest of the population, those aged 65 years of older had double that amount of problems managed, referrals made and tests ordered. Therefore, with the increase in life expectancy, which will continue to increase, these conditions are being managed for longer.
With this ageing population comes an increase in demand for GPs. The number of GPs across Australia is steadily increasing and will only continue to do so, with a large amount of GPs coming from overseas. Older patients also spend twice as long in a consultation with their GP. This means that GP’s are needed not only to treat the elderly patients, but to also see the other patients who don’t get to see their GP, which increases your patient base. Australia’s strong primary care system is well suited for the task of handling the ageing population however more GPs are always needed.
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University of Sydney : Invest in General Practice to ensure health of older Australians – 4 November 2015 Dan Gaffney