If you have a general-practice-related question you can’t find the answer for, then it’s highly likely other GPs would like to know the answer, too. The RACGP Foundation provides a great opportunity for you to investigate your questions.
I’d wondered for some years about how much of the Federal health spending is allocated to general practice and primary care. I found different answers in different reports and didn’t feel there was a single right answer. I applied for an RACGP Foundation grant to help me investigate and to inform how we might monitor spending on general practice services in the future. Multiple health reforms talk of ‘strengthening primary care’, and it seemed important to me to know whether general practice is being strengthened with financial support.
I was fortunate to be awarded the Family Medical Care Education and Research Grant in 2019. This grant allowed me to work with researchers in Australia and the US to better understand how we classify and allocate health funding – particularly how much of the health budget is allocated to general practice and primary care. My colleagues and I reviewed the evidence, and have identified ways to better classify and monitor primary care spending. The work will be published, and will hopefully help the RACGP easily monitor changes to general practice spending in Australia. This in turn will help us understand whether current reforms, such as the introduction of telehealth and the recommendations of the MBS Review Taskforce, are adding money to support the provision of high-quality primary care.
The application was pretty straightforward once I had an idea in my head, and I enjoyed the process. It has helped me gain a profile as a researcher while working as a GP, and other research opportunities have followed. Through this research, I feel I’m helping my profession as well as getting my patients a better deal.
Dr Michael Wright