What’s general practice like in Australia?

After 18 months of working in Australia I can honestly say it’s been a refreshing change. During my day I see patients, and that’s it really. If I need more time, then I book longer appointments. If I want breaks, I build them into my day. If I want to finish early on a particular day, that’s easy, I tell the receptionist to change my hours. If I have reports to do, I book out time during the day, and charge for my time accordingly. If a patient wants to see me, then they have to book with me. I don’t do telephone calls and I don’t do home visits. Blood results and letters are manageable between my patients. Then at the end of the day when my last patient leaves, I leave too. I don’t work late, there’s never a reason too. I am well paid, I enjoy my work and I am not stressed. Most scans and tests can be done within a week, so that keeps the patients happy.

There is one major difference though, there is often out of pocket costs for the patient. Some of the tests and treatments are free at the point of access, but many have a price. The difference is that the Australian people are used to it and accept that if they want good quality healthcare at their convenience, that they will need to pay a price for it.

Lindsay Moran

A sessional GP from the UK working in Melbourne.

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