General practitioners and consultation drift: the effects of supply-side changes and reforms on service delivery patterns Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVES: To determine what types of supply-side change underpinned the recent decline in longer (Level C and D) consultation provision and to evaluate the impact of the May 2010 reforms in realigning Medicare with long-term health policy objectives. METHODS: Retrospective analysis of Level C and D consultation provision by general practitioners (GPs) across Australia. Outcome measures were extent (number of consultations per providing GP) and participation (proportion of GPs providing these consultations). RESULTS: The proportion of GPs participating in Level C consultation provision is substantial (96%) and constant; however, extent of provision per GP decreased by 21% between 2006 and 2010. Level D participation decreased from 72% during 2006 to a nadir of 62% in 2009, and extent of provision decreased by 26% between 2006 and 2010. CONCLUSION: Two distinct types of change underpinned the overall decline in Level C and D consultation provision. GPs appear to be providing Level C consultations less often, but the overwhelming majority still provide these consultations to some extent. The extent of provision of Level D consultations and the proportion of GPs providing them has decreased; an appreciable number of GPs simply stopped providing Level D consultations. Medicare reforms appear ineffective in realigning Medicare with long-term policy objectives.

publication date

  • 2013