“The Elephant” in the Consult Room.

Uncategorized May 07, 2022

Well GP certainly has some significant challenges right now.

Historical underinvestment into an increasingly complex and difficult role has left many GPs working fewer days, fewer hours and in some cases - quitting entirely.

COVID revealed significant problems in the medical system as the increased strain revealed previously hidden weaknesses.

And now we face long wait times for initial specialist appointments and virtually all public hospital waitlists are blown way out.

Here’s the most sobering challenge we face…

We are not at peak medical demand until 2028-2032.

But the system is already cracking badly before the baby boomers really start consuming health care at high rates.

And if the system cannot handle the workload?

Guess where all those unhappy patients are coming to complain about the situation?

Yep, you guessed it…

You. The GP.

Here’s what’s really worrying - if the government decided they needed to double the number of doctors to cope with the demand…

You are still looking at a minimum of 9-10 years to get a first GP cohort into the system and 12-14 years for increased specialist numbers.

Can you see the problem?

We only have 6 years until the demand.


So we are it.

Perhaps none of this will come to pass.

That the baby boomers will not need that much healthcare.

That we suddenly have such productivity improvements in healthcare that we can see 3x as many patients.

Perhaps AI will come with powerful diagnostic algorithms and patients can diagnose themselves with a messenger app.

But most likely, the strains will continue to increase.

The convergence of these forces for us as GPs means that there will be one critical lesson for us… one that we simply must adhere to…

Look after ourselves first because there will always be the next patient who needs our help.

And that we may be forced by sheer economic reality to accept that in situations of high demand and low supply, prices must go up.

Make no mistake, challenging times lie ahead for General Practice.

Stay tuned for some ideas on what may be done to navigate the crisis.


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