About this Website
This website is set up for the purpose of connecting general medical practioners (GPs) across Australia. It is not an "official" website for any Australian medical body. It has no associations with political groups and no associations with commercial groups. It is totally independant, written and maintained by a general practitioner (GP) who works as a solo doctor in a small rural village.
There are approximately 34,606 general practitioners in Australia according to the Department of Health1. Divided, we are at the mercy of the various levels of government. Government decides what is best for health care based on economics, for one of the roles of government is choosing how to spend money wisely. Past experiences have shown that politicians do not understand the consequences to general practice of their policy making. As 34,606 individual GPs we lack the powerful voice that we should have, but if we unite we have an extremely powerful voice. Although there are a number of organisations that do represent us, there is not a single body that provides political representation and/or advocacy for all of general practice.
- The RACGP's role main focus is on education and standards.
- The ACRRM is more able in this regard, however, it arguably represents only rural GPs, ie not urban GPs.
- The RDAA advocates strongly for general practice but represents primarily only rural GPs.
- The AMA is the national body for doctors in Australia and certainly has, in the past, represented GPs. It would appear that the percentage of GPs who are members of the AMA is not large. The AMA is in a difficult position if representing GPs conflicts with representing specialists, eg in the pathology rental issue.
Arguably, we do not need another organisation. Certainly not another one requiring a yearly subscription! An alternative is to have local GP groups, each providing services and support for their own local members. Should there be enough of these groups then they can band together as the need arises (and when they choose), in order to represent the majority of GPs across Australia. They can each make representations to the AMA, the RACGP, RDAA and/or ACRRM requesting representation regarding their concerns, or they can make submissions to the government on local, state and/or national levels as they see fit. If they choose, they can act together on matters of mutual interest, by combining with other local GP representative groups. This can only work if they know about each other and have the ability to contact each other. This is where this website can come in... to locate and connect these groups. On this page you will find a list of local GP representative groups. I hope the page is incomplete and invite anyone to let me know of groups I might have missed.
Originally, this website was created to connect the Divisions of General Practice (in the days before there were search engines on the internet!).
The Divisions of General Practice gave representation to GPs across Australia and some degree of unification. However these Divisions no longer exist, apart from a small number who have managed to soldier on without government funding. Many have changed their name.
It is my hope that many more local representative groups will form.
Australia has one of the best health systems in the world. By far the majority of health services are provided by GPs, who provide the most cost-effective and most personal health care in the system. Because GPs are patient-focussed and outcome-focussed, supporting general practice is the most effective way of ensuring good quality patient care in Australia.
Australian general practice, as we know it, is being threatened by a number of processes. Some are:-
These issues will be further discussed on the Current Issues page.
- Non-indexation of Medicare rebates
- Proposed changes to the Medicare rebate system
- Proposed re-validation of doctors
- Proposed co-payment system
- Possible privatisation of Medicare
- The aging workforce (current average just over 51 years of age, with 40% older than 55)
- Lower practice ownership by younger doctors.
For Australian GPs to effectively voice their opinions regarding these issues (and others), they will need strong representation at a grass-roots level and some form of unification. United we can stand but divided we are at the mercy of the powers that be.
Dr John Goswell,
MB BS, Dip Obs RACOG
Department of Health - General Practice Statistics, 2015 - 2016.