Conflict of interest: There are no known conflicts of interest.
Changes in longer consultations for children in general practice
Article first published online: 21 MAR 2013
© The Authors and Commonwealth of Australia. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health © 2013 Paediatrics and Child Health Division (Royal Australasian College of Physicians)
Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health
Volume 49, Issue 4, pages 325–329, April 2013
How to Cite
Freed, G. L., Spike, N. A., Sewell, J. R., Moran, L. M., Britt, H., Valenti, L. and Brooks, P. (2013), Changes in longer consultations for children in general practice. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 49: 325–329. doi: 10.1111/jpc.12157
Funding provided by the Department of Health and Ageing in Australia via the Australian-American Health Policy Fellowship Program.
- Issue published online: 11 APR 2013
- Article first published online: 21 MAR 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 8 JUL 2012
- Department of Health and Ageing in Australia
- general practice;
To determine if the duration of general practitioner (GP) consultations, or the proportional distribution of item numbers associated with longer consultations, with children has changed in association with the demographic changes in Australia.
Secondary data analysis of Medicare claims from 1996 to 2010, which were stratified by patient age and visit type as designated by billing item number, and of the Bettering the Evaluation of Care and Health (BEACH) database was conducted. The Medicare data that were analysed were changes in overall proportion and absolute numbers of longer consultations for children from 1996 to 2010, while the BEACH data that were analysed were changes in the average duration of visits for children and the proportion of visits by children for chronic conditions.
Despite the increase in the population of children, and the increasing numbers of children with chronic illness, the absolute number of longer consultations for children has decreased over the time period studied. Further, the proportion of all longer consultations that are being provided to children has diminished. For those consultations that do occur, the GPs are not spending any more time with children in 2010 than they did in consultations in 2000.
There have been significant changes in the patterns of longer consultations provided to children by GPs. Efforts to ensure that children receive primary care for chronic conditions and preventive care must now take on a greater urgency for the health-care system.