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Keywords:

  • Medicare;
  • primary health care;
  • homes for the aged

Aim

To examine the general practitioner (GP) consultation patterns for primary health-care services provided in residential aged care facilities (RACFs) by consultation type.

Method

Analyses of service provision and RACF population data for the period 1998–2011. All Medicare-subsidised services provided by GPs across Australia in RACFs were included and categorised by consultation type and by time of service delivery (business or after-hours).

Results

Overall service delivery increased from 12 118 per 1000 residents in financial year (FY) 1998–99 to 17 079 per 1000 residents in FY2010–11, a 41% increase. Since FY2007–08, the rate of brief consultations has grown by an average of 20% each year. Delivery of after-hours consultations also increased.

Conclusions

The pattern of GP services provided in RACFs has changed substantially over time. To some extent these changes reflect regulatory adjustments; however, the pattern is at odds with the ever-increasing dependence levels of residents.