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Aust J Rural Health. 2017 Aug;25(4):219-226. doi: 10.1111/ajr.12321. Epub 2016 Sep 7.

How does the workload and work activities of procedural GPs compare to non-procedural GPs?

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Monash Rural Health, Monash University, Bendigo, Victoria, Australia.
Centre of Research Excellence (CRE) in Rural and Remote Primary Health Care, Bendigo, Victoria, Australia.
Centre of Research Excellence (CRE) in Medical Workforce Dynamics, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Monash Rural Health, Monash University, Churchill, Victoria, Australia.



To investigate patterns of Australian GP procedural activity and associations with: geographical remoteness and population size hours worked in hospitals and in total; and availability for on-call DESIGN AND PARTICIPANTS: National annual panel survey (Medicine in Australia: Balancing Employment and Life) of Australian GPs, 2011-2013.


Self-reported geographical work location, hours worked in different settings, and on-call availability per usual week, were analysed against GP procedural activity in anaesthetics, obstetrics, surgery or emergency medicine.


Analysis of 9301 survey responses from 4638 individual GPs revealed significantly increased odds of GP procedural activity in anaesthetics, obstetrics or emergency medicine as geographical remoteness increased and community population size decreased, albeit with plateauing of the effect-size from medium-sized (population 5000-15 000) rural communities. After adjusting for confounders, procedural GPs work more hospital and more total hours each week than non-procedural GPs. In 2011 this equated to GPs practising anaesthetics, obstetrics, surgery, and emergency medicine providing 8% (95%CI 0, 16), 13% (95%CI 8, 19), 8% (95%CI 2, 15) and 18% (95%CI 13, 23) more total hours each week, respectively. The extra hours are attributable to longer hours worked in hospital settings, with no reduction in private consultation hours. Procedural GPs also carry a significantly higher burden of on-call.


The longer working hours and higher on-call demands experienced by rural and remote procedural GPs demand improved solutions, such as changes to service delivery models, so that long-term procedural GP careers are increasingly attractive to current and aspiring rural GPs.


Australia; doctors; generalist; remote; rural

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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