Objective: To determine the profile of all consultations carried out in paediatricians’ offices in the Barwon region over a 12-month period.
Methodology: The age, sex, category, diagnosis, and outcome of all non-hospital-based paediatric consultations carried out in the Barwon region were documented prospectively on a day by day basis. Relevant demographic data and information on Barwon children treated elsewhere were also collected. The frequency of different categories of illness, systems involved and groups of diagnoses was determined.
Results: A total of 14 711 consultations was carried out in the region with 10% of the childhood population having contact with the paediatricians during the year; 3135 new patients or problems were seen with 34.8% of all consultations involving behavioural problems and 76% of these relating to ADHD. The most frequent medical diagnostic group was CNS/disability being 16% of all consultations. At least 50% of the medical consultations involved chronic illness.
Conclusions: Behavioural difficulty, chronic disability, and learning problems represent a significant part of the workload of community-based general paediatricians. Appropriate exposure during paediatric training should be given to these issues along with more sophisticated training in the medical, social and psychological complications of chronic illness and its effect on clients and families.