New data showing how GPs work and similarities and differences between problems managed by metropolitan and rural GPs and by male and female GPs, will be among the findings presented by the Director of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Dr Richard Madden, at the AMA 1999 National Conference in Canberra on Saturday 29 May.
Dr Madden will present data showing that in 1998 the three most common reasons for people going to their GPs-for prescriptions, coughs, and cardiac check-ups-were the same in metropolitan areas, large rural centres, and other rural areas, and did not vary with the size of the practice. The length of consultation varied depending on area-long or prolonged consultations were more common for metropolitan GPs (9% of consultations) than for GPs in large rural centres (7%) and other rural areas (4.5%).
In 1998 female patients comprised 71% of female GPs' workloads, compared with 53% of male GPs' workloads and practice patterns were different. There were also differences per 100 patient encounters between the number of medications prescribed (96 by male GPs, 86 by female GPs) and the number of pathology referrals (23 by male GPs and 34 by female GPs).
One third of GPs were female in 1997, with the female proportion increasing by almost 1% each year during the last decade. In 1998 60% of GP trainees were female.
Other data show that just over half (52%) of female GPs work less than 35 hours per week, compared with 13% of male GPs. Over a lifetime of employment, female GPs average 66% of the hours worked by male GPs.
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