How common is multiple general practice attendance in Australia?

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Aust J Gen Pract, 2018, 47 (5), pp. 289 - 296
Issue Date:
2018-05
Metrics:
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BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Australians can seek general practice care from multiple general practitioners (GPs) in multiple locations. This provides high levels of patient choice but may reduce continuity of care. The aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence of attendance at multiple general practices in Australia, and identify patient characteristics associated with multiple practice attendances. METHOD: A cross-sectional survey of 2477 Australian adults was conducted online in July 2013. Respondents reported whether they had attended more than one general practice in the past year, and whether they had a usual general practice and GP. Demographic information, health service use and practice characteristics were also obtained from the survey. RESULTS: Over one-quarter of the sample reported attending more than one practice in the previous year. Multiple practice attendance is less common with increasing age, and less likely for survey respondents from regional Australia, compared with respondents from metropolitan areas. Multiple practice attenders are just as likely as single practice attenders to have a usual GP. DISCUSSION: A significant proportion of general practice care is delivered away from usual practices. This may have implications for health policy, in terms of continuity and quality of primary care.
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