Australian general Practitioners' perspectives on their role in well-child health care.

BMC Family Practice (Impact Factor: 1.67). 01/2013; 14(1):2. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2296-14-2
Source: PubMed


In a General Practitioner (GP) setting, preventative medicine is reported as the predominant source of health care for the well-child. However, the role of the GP in well-child health care is not well understood in Australia. The aim of this study was to describe the role of the GP in providing services for well-children and families in Australia.

This was a qualitative descriptive study. Face-to-face interviews were held with 23 GPs to identify their role in the provision of well-child health care. Participants worked in a variety of general practice settings and 21 of the 23 GPs worked in the Greater Western Sydney area.

Five main themes were identified in the analysis: ‘prevention is better than cure’, ‘health promotion: the key messages’, ‘working with families’, ‘working with other health professionals’, and ‘barriers to the delivery of well-child health services’.

Participating GPs had a predominantly preventative focus, but in the main well-child care was opportunistic rather than proactive. The capacity to take a primary preventative approach to the health of children and families by GPs is limited by the increasing demands to manage chronic disease. Serious consideration should be given to developing collaborative models of care where GPs are joined up with services funded by State and Territory governments in Australia, such as the universal maternal child and family health nursing services that have well children and families as their prime focus.

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Available from: Virginia Schmied, Sep 15, 2014
    • "Additional services for families are available through private midwives and CFHs, nurses working in pharmacies or private general medical practices (where they can see a doctor or a practice nurse). CFH nursing services continue to offer scheduled universal services at regular intervals until children start school (NSW Department of Health 2008, COAG 2009a), whereas general practitioners (GPs) offer CFH services opportunistically when families present for medical treatment or for immunisation (Jeyendra et al. 2013). This complex mix of maternity and CFH, public and private services in Australia makes the planning and coordination of care across various services challenging (Schmied et al., 2008b; The Allens Consulting Group 2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: To examine collaboration in the provision of universal health services for children and families in Australia from the perspective of midwives and child health and family health nurses.
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    • "The CFH service includes, but is not limited to, developmental surveillance and health monitoring, promotion of parental social and emotional wellbeing, risk identification and health promotion [9,10]. General practice (general practitioners and practice nurses) also provide well child services opportunistically including developmental and preventative health care and immunisations [11]. These services attract an out-of-pocket fee with some subsidy through the public health insurance system called Medicare. "
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    • "While general practice also provides substantial child healthcare [20], limited literature exists on the role GPs play in providing well child health care [21]. Despite the emphasis placed on preventative health measures [22], elements of the universal CFH service schedule are generally only provided opportunistically by GPs during visits for immunisation and illness [21]. "
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