Chronic health plan should mention GPs this time: AMA

3 minute read

You’d think a 64-page document on how to address chronic disease would have something to say about general practice.

The AMA has had to remind DoHAC that a refreshed National Strategic Framework for Chronic Conditions should make more than a passing reference to the health professionals at the front line of chronic disease care. 

The current framework, which dates back to 2017, mentions general practice just seven times over 64 pages.  

Five of these are when “GP” is simply included in the name of a progress indicator, like the measure of bulk billing for non-referred GP attendances.  

While strategic frameworks are designed to be broad in order to stay relevant at local, state and national levels, they’re also intended to guide policy.  

The absence of general practice from the framework effectively makes it invisible to a prospective policymaker about to do something in the chronic disease space.  

“All levels of government have been saying time and time again that general practice is the cornerstone of our healthcare system,” AMA vice president Dr Danielle McMullen told The Medical Republic.  

“And we couldn’t agree more, so it’s important that national strategic documents like this reference general practice and talk about the essential role that GPs have in managing complex illness and chronic disease.”  

With the framework up for a refresh, the AMA has requested a more explicit focus on the importance of general practice.  

“General practitioners are the only clinicians appropriate to chair the primary care team, bringing experience and training in whole patient, multi-system continuous care,” the association’s submission reads.  

“GPs are the only primary care health professionals who can take responsibility for diagnosing, treating, and managing care.”  

The AMA says the framework has had “minimal impact on the incidence of chronic illness in Australia” in its current form.  

Other areas it recommends the refreshed document focus on include digital health, which the association says is emerging as a clinical specialty in its own right. 

“We see digital health as the enabler and the tool to achieve clinical practice, but having clinicians in the room developing those tools and people with an understanding of both the technology and the clinical medicine is essential in our digital health landscape going forwards,” Dr McMullen said.  

The National Strategic Framework for Chronic Conditions reaches its seven-year expiry date in 2025. It’s unclear when the refreshed version will be released.  

End of content

No more pages to load

Log In Register ×