MOST Canberrans feel they are in good health, according to the results of a new survey, despite a significant number being discouraged from seeing their GP due to the cost.
The National Health Performance Authority’s ”Healthy Communities” survey for 2010-11 found that 89 per cent of ACT residents rated their health as either excellent, very good or good, but that 15 per cent had delayed visiting a GP due to cost – the highest rate in the nation.
ACT Medicare Local (ACTML) Chair Dr Rashmi Sharma says this is “generally much better” than what people from other parts of Australia reported.
“We have a higher rate of people seeing their GP in the ACT, compared to national results, with 83 per cent surveyed having seen their GP in the 12 month period,” Dr Sharma says. “And not surprisingly we heard 88 per cent surveyed said their GP listened carefully to their health issues.”
The report also found one in five felt they waited longer than acceptable to get an appointment.
Dr Sharma says there are less GPs per person in the ACT than the national average, but that anecdotal evidence suggests more practices have opened to new clients recently.
The ACTML is conducting a new study to examine the local general practice workforce, and the accessibility of GP services in the ACT.
“The study will provide us with the evidence required to accurately predict future general practice workforce needs in the ACT and will also allow the ACT Government and ACTML to respond appropriately,” says Dr Sharma.
“It’s become increasingly apparent that if we are able to train more GPs in Canberra, they are more likely to stay here and that will help address the GP workforce issue.”