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Medical Health Aged Care

2024 Federal Budget should fund GP-led living guidelines to make Australia healthier

Royal Australian College of GPs 2 mins read

The Royal Australian College of GPs (RACGP) is calling on the Federal Government to invest in ‘living’ guidelines for preventive care so patient care can be informed by the latest evidence and improve health outcomes.

With health research and evidence changing rapidly, Australia’s largest peak GP body is calling for funding to turn existing GP clinical guidelines into ‘living guidelines’ in its pre-Budget submission 2024-25.

Clinical guidelines provide evidence-backed recommendations for medical professionals and patients to inform health decisions, weighing benefits, potential harms, and the certainty of evidence.

While most guidelines are updated at specific intervals such as every three years, living guidelines incorporate relevant new evidence as it becomes available to allow clinicians to stay up to date with the latest research, but require continual surveillance and review.

A nationwide newsGP poll identified GPs find it most challenging to stay across rapidly changing evidence on:

  • COVID-19 – 24%
  • Smoking/vaping cessation – 20%
  • PSA testing – 14%
  • Preventive health – 14%
  • MS-2 Step – 6%.

RACGP President Dr Nicole Higgins said living guidelines would make a significant difference for GPs and their patients.

“Health research and evidence changes so rapidly that guidelines quickly become outdated, and GPs need to spend a lot of time looking at new research to keep up to date,” she said.

“Funding for GP led living guidelines will mean Australians can get the latest evidence-based care – this will make Australia healthier and reduce costs to the health system.

“We are calling for funding for preventive care guidelines which would have a significant impact on health outcomes. The leading causes of death and disability in Australia are preventable or can be delayed with early intervention through general practice.

“For too long, Australian governments have underinvested in preventive care – currently just 2% of our total health spending goes to prevention. The National Preventive Health Strategy calls for it to increase to 5% by 2030.

“Funding preventive care is the most cost-effective health investment. The Productivity Commission estimated that improving the health of people in poor or fair health would result in an extra $4 billion GDP growth annually in 2017 – it’s likely a lot more now, given the increasing burden of chronic disease in Australia.

“I strongly encourage the government to make this investment in RACGP guidelines in the next Budget. It will help all Australians get the latest evidence-based care, improve our health, and reduce pressure on our hospitals.”

~ENDS


About us:

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is the peak representative organisation for general practice, the backbone of Australia’s health system. We set the standards for general practice, facilitate lifelong learning for GPs, connect the general practice community, and advocate for better health and wellbeing for all Australians.

Visit www.racgp.org.au. To unsubscribe from RACGP media releases, click here.


Contact details:

John Ronan
Media Adviser

Ally Francis
Media Adviser

Stuart Winthrope
Media Officer

Contact: 03 8699 0992media@racgp.org.au

Follow us on Twitter: @RACGP and Facebook.

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