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Family Doctor Week highlights effective role of GPs

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AMA Family Doctor Week recognises the work and dedication of Australia’s 36,000 general practitioners who treat families and individuals with a range of health issues day in and day out.

“Australia’s health system is one of the best in the world, and it all begins with the GP-led primary care system,” AMA President Dr Tony Bartone said.

“Eight out of 10 Australians see their family doctor once a year, and more than nine in 10 always go to the same general practice, with 65 per cent of people surveyed reporting that they had been going to their family doctor for five years or more.

“People who have a regular family doctor tend to have better health outcomes, with new research from the United Kingdom suggesting that seeing the same doctor each time you need medical care might even reduce your risk of death.

“Patients who need urgent medical care can usually obtain an appointment on the day they call, with nearly two-thirds reporting that they were seen by a family doctor within four hours of making an appointment.”

Dr Bartone stressed that GPs are specialists in their field, with a minimum of 10 to 15 years training, and they manage 90 per cent of the problems they encounter.

They are the leaders in preventive health care, early diagnosis and treatment, and comprehensive care.

“Australians rely on their trusted relationship with their family doctor,” he said.

“It’s a partnership with someone who knows their medical history, who they can talk to about their health concerns, who can advise them on how to reduce their health risks, who can assist them in managing their health, who can help them to feel well, and who can listen to them and guide them when it all starts to get too much.

“This continuity of care underpins quality health care, and is fundamental to better health outcomes.”

As part of Family Doctor Week, the AMA produced a series of videos showcasing how your family doctor is there for you. They can be viewed on the Family Doctor Week Website family-doctor-week-2018 .

Here, the Australian Medicine feature pages profile dedicated family doctors from each Australian State and Territory.