COVID-19 challenges faced by general practitioners in Australia: a survey study conducted in March 2021.

CSIRO Publishing
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Australian Journal of Primary Health, 2021, 27, (5), pp. 357-363
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
Limited studies at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic found GPs have been negatively affected by increased workload, reduced income and major concerns about staff and patient safety. This study aimed to investigate the challenges of COVID-19 in general practice 1 year since it was declared a pandemic. A national cross-sectional online survey was conducted in March 2021 of a convenience sample of 295 Australian GPs attending an online educational webcast. Twenty-five multipart and free-text questions collected information regarding GPs' main COVID-19-related issues and concerns, including COVID-19 vaccines, useful sources of information, information needs and their perceived role as GPs in COVID-19 management. Descriptive statistics were calculated for all quantitative variables. Content analysis was used to analyse text data from open-ended questions. Of the 596 eligible attendees of the online educational webcast, 295 completed the survey (49.5% response rate). One year since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, GPs still have concerns regarding patients ignoring prescreening and presenting with flu-like symptoms, the safety of their colleagues and family and catching COVID-19 themselves, as well as concerns about the effect of the pandemic on their patients and patients delaying essential care for non-COVID-19 conditions. More education and resources about vaccines was identified as the top information need, which will assist with what GPs' perceived to be their key roles in managing the COVID-19 pandemic, namely educating the public, correcting misunderstandings and providing the COVID-19 vaccine. These findings highlight gaps in communication and information, particularly regarding COVID-19 vaccines. GPs need high-quality information and resources to support them in undertaking complex risk communication with their patients.
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