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Med J Aust. 2001 Jul 16;175(2):99-103.

Medical emergencies in general practice in south-east Queensland: prevalence and practice preparedness.

Author information

1
Centre for General Practice, School of Population Health, Mayne Medical School, University of Queensland, Brisbane.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine the type and frequency of emergencies in general practice, and the extent to which general practices are equipped to appropriately respond to emergencies.

DESIGN:

Random-sample, cross-sectional questionnaire survey of general practitioners, October 1999 - March 2000.

SETTING:

General practices in south-east Queensland.

PARTICIPANTS:

512 of 900 eligible GPs in current clinical practice.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

The type and frequency of medical emergencies presenting to GPs, and descriptive details of emergency drugs and equipment available in their practices.

RESULTS:

512 GPs (response rate, 57%) reported managing a cumulative total of 5640 emergencies over the preceding 12 months. Non-metropolitan GPs saw about 30% more emergencies than their metropolitan counterparts (median, 9 and 7, respectively; P=0.02). The most common emergencies (seen by more than 30% of all GPs) were acute asthma, psychiatric emergencies, convulsions, hypoglycaemia, anaphylaxis, impaired consciousness, shock, poisoning and overdose. Most GPs (77%) stocked 15 or more of the 16 emergency doctor's bag drugs, but a smaller proportion (67%) had all of the basic emergency equipment items considered essential.

CONCLUSIONS:

A substantial number of patients with potentially life-threatening emergencies present to GPs. Doctor's bag emergency drugs are available in most general practices, but availability of basic emergency equipment is suboptimal.

PMID:
11556429
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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