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5 hospital presentations that GPs could help prevent

Surge in NSW patients, calls for more beds - Featured Image

New research suggests over half a million hospitalisations could be avoided if patients had visited their doctor earlier.

The National Health Performance Authority’s report found there were 22 conditions for which hospitalisation was considered to be potentially preventable.

They found that 600,267 hospitalisations in 2013-14 could have potentially been prevented and five conditions specifically account for almost half (47%) of all potentially preventable hospitalisations.

The five conditions are:

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) –10.4% of potentially preventable hospitalisations.
  • Diabetes complications  – 6.8% of potentially preventable hospitalisations.
  • Heart failure – 8.9% of potentially preventable hospitalisations.
  • Cellulitis – 9.7% of potentially preventable hospitalisations.
  • Kidney and urinary tract infections (UTIs) – 10.4% of potentially preventable hospitalisations.

The report found that among the 300 local areas, age standardised rates of potentially preventable hospitalisations were nine time higher in some areas compared to others, “ranging from 1,406 per 100,000 people in Pennant Hills-Epping (NSW) to 12,705 hospitalisations per 100,000 in Barkly (NT).”

Related: MJA – Coordinated care versus standard care in hospital admissions of people with chronic illness: a randomised controlled trial

It also found that people in regional and remote areas and from a lower socioeconomic status often have higher rates of potentially preventable hospitalisation.

“This may be due to poorer health among people living in these areas and, potentially, poorer access to health care services provided in the community,” the report suggests.

Authors of the report say focusing on these five conditions can help PHNs target efforts on areas where there can be potential for great improvement.

The RACGP declined to comment on the report.

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