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Report: GPs work less but face more complex health issues

FAMILY doctors are working less each week, but facing more complex health problems when their patients visit, University of Sydney research reveals.

The Sydney School of Public Health research has found more complex, chronic diseases are becoming the chief problems facing general practitioners.

Associate Professor Helena Britt said patients with type 2 diabetes were now accounting for 8% of Australian GP workloads, and those patients were spending almost twice as much time with their doctor compared with others.

Two reports from the university released on Wednesday revealed the rise of diabetes among Australians seeing their personal doctors.

The data showed Australians claimed 126.8 million GP services through Medicare last financial year, while those with type 2 diabetes averaged eight visits a year.

"This is more than the average of 5.6 GP visits a year for the total population, and patients with diabetes have longer consultations than many others," Dr Britt said.

"About 1.2 million people have diagnosed type 2 diabetes, and 97% of them have at least one other chronic condition - 40% have five or more.

"High blood pressure, high cholesterol, hypertension, osteoarthritis, ischaemic heart disease, and depression are the most common."

The research also showed the ageing population was hitting GP surgeries, with a rise in older Australians visiting their doctors with more chronic health problems.


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