GPs say patients would benefit from psychologists, pharmacists and diabetes educators in the practice team

Royal Australian College of GPs

GPs across Australia say their patients would benefit from a multidisciplinary care team at their general practice including psychologists, pharmacists and credentialled diabetes educators.

In a nationwide newsGP poll, the majority of respondents (57%) said their patients would benefit most from having a psychologist in the practice team, followed by pharmacist (11%), credentialled diabetes educator (11%) and occupational therapist (4%).

The Royal Australian College of GPs (RACGP) is calling for the next Federal Budget to include support for practices to grow their teams and employ other health professionals to improve care and access for patients.

RACGP President Dr Nicole Higgins said supporting practices to grow their teams would improve access to care for all Australians.

“Research shows the value of multidisciplinary team care for patients,” she said.

“Practice teams with a higher number of GPs and nurses help patients stay well, and out of hospital. And it improves access to care for people with urgent or complex issues, because other qualified team members have different skills sets and can help share the workload.

“Studies have also shown that having a pharmacist in the practice team improves the quality of prescribing and reduces costs for patients by supporting quality use of medicines and deprescribing initiatives. Some practices already employ practice-based pharmacists, and we are recommending dedicated funding in the next Budget to support more practices to do so.

“Our newsGP poll found many GPs think their patients would benefit from having a psychologist in the practice team. This is no surprise given mental health issues are so prevalent. Our last Health of the Nation report showed more GPs than ever are reporting mental health being among the most common reason for a patient consult.

“The health needs of every community are unique. With support, practices will be able to grow and employ multidisciplinary care teams to suit their patients and improve access to the care their community needs. It’s a smart and simple way to improve the health and wellbeing of Australia.”

Australian Diabetes Educators Association President, Amanda Bartlett CDE, said Credentialled Diabetes Educators (CDEs) are key members of a multidisciplinary care team.

“Credentialled Diabetes Educators (CDEs) play a vital role in providing expert individualised diabetes care for people living with diabetes. Collaborating closely with GPs, CDEs provide comprehensive person-centred diabetes education that allows people living with diabetes to live their healthiest lives. Diabetes is a very complex condition and CDEs and GPs both share a commitment to enhancing the lives of those affected by diabetes through close collaboration.”


/Public Release.