3.17 Regular general practitioner or health service

This measure reports on Indigenous Australians who have a regular general practitioner (GP) or health service.

Why is it important?

This measure reports on people who have a regular GP or health service. Having a usual primary health‑care provider is associated with good communication between the patient and provider, greater levels of trust and satisfaction with providers (Mainous et al. 2001; Schers et al. 2005) and better health outcomes for patients (Starfield 1998; Starfield & Shi 2004). Those with a usual primary care provider are more likely to receive care based on guidelines, preventive care and better coordination of care with other providers to meet patient need (Atlas et al. 2009; Forrest & Starfield 1996). Other benefits of having a continuous doctor–patient relationship include improved diagnoses, better medication management, avoidance of repeat tests or other interventions, and fewer hospitalisations, particularly for people with complex health‑care needs (Hollander et al. 2009).

Related measures

Data sources

  • Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey


  • Atlas SJ, Grant RW, Ferris TG, Chang Y & Barry MJ 2009. Patient–physician connectedness and quality of primary care. Annals of Internal Medicine 150:325–35.
  • Forrest CB & Starfield B 1996. The effect of first‑contact care with primary care clinicians on ambulatory health‑care expenditures. Journal of Family Practice 43:40–8.
  • Mainous AG, Baker R, Love MM, Gary DP & Gill JM 2001. Continuity of care and trust in one’s physician: evidence from primary care in the United States and the United Kingdom. Family Medicine 33:22–7.
  • Schers H, van den Hoogen H, Bor H, Grol R & van den Bosch W 2005. Familiarity with a GP and patients’ evaluations of care. A cross‑sectional study. Family practice 22:15–9.
  • Starfield B 1998. Primary care: balancing health needs, services and technology. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Starfield B & Shi L 2004. The medical home, access to care, and insurance: a review of evidence. Pediatrics 113:1493–8.