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Aust J Prim Health. 2012;18(2):158-65. doi: 10.1071/PY11003.

Developing a framework for understanding doctors' health access: a qualitative study of Australian GPs.

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The University of Queensland, Herston, Australia.


Health access behaviours of doctors need to be understood if the profession is to adequately respond to concerns raised about doctors' health. There has been limited investigation of these issues and most qualitative studies have focussed on doctors who have been seriously unwell. This research project was designed to explore doctors' attitudes to health access and the barriers they experience using six independently facilitated focus groups (37 general practitioners) in Brisbane, Australia. Themes that emerged using inductive thematic analysis were grouped into three key categories. The findings challenge current representations of doctors' health within the medical literature. Doctors in this study reported positive attitudes towards their own health care. Health access, however, was difficult because of the barriers they encountered. These barriers are described in detail revealing the rationale used by doctors seeking care. A framework of patient, provider and profession barrier domains is developed to enable a comparison between the health access barriers of the doctor and those experienced by the general community. The complexity is highlighted as the socio-cultural factors woven through these barrier domains are recognised. The potential for this framework to provide a structure for future interventions to enhance doctors' health access is discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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