General medical practitioners (GPs) are primary caregivers and the first point of contact in the medical system.
They do not require a referral and are trained in the total health care of the person. GPs provide all the care needed for about 88% of the problems they encounter. In addition, they manage patients with disease and practise secondary prevention.
The General Practice Medical Services industry is expected to generate revenue of $10.5 billion in 2012-13 (up 3.9% on 2011-12) and account for about 7.0% of total health expenditure in Australia. About 132 million services will be provided under Medicare for non-referred attendances in 2012-13, representing about 5.7 services per capita. The number of Medicare non-referred attendances is forecast to grow an annualised 2.8% in the five years through 2012-13.
Revenue of the General Practice Medical Services industry is expected to grow an annualised 3.5% in the five years through 2012-13. Increased industry revenue is likely to be promoted by growth in the number of services, partly offset by a decrease in the average fee per service. There has been significant growth in after-hours GP attendances, mental health services, multidisciplinary care plans and case conference services.
Industry at a Glance
Industry revenue is expected to grow 3.9% in 2013-14 by an annualised 4.0% in the five years through 2017-18 (to reach $12.8 billion). Industry growth will be primarily due to an increase in the number of services provided because of population growth, an ageing population, technological advances in medicine and an increase in the range of services available.