A recent survey by the Australian Medical Association shows GPs are quitting residential aged care in droves.
Over one third of GPs who currently undertake visits to nursing homes intend to stop visiting new patients, decrease the number of visits or stop visiting altogether over the next two years.
Currently, most of the GPs who visit nursing homes are in an older age bracket. Around 50 per cent are GPs aged between 41 and 60 and 47 per cent are aged over 61.
It is concerning that GPs under 40 contribute to only 3.6 per cent of visits, meaning that, as the older GPs retire, there will be a shortage of GPs willing to visit nursing homes.
But why are GP nursing home visits going out of fashion?
The most common reasons are increasing unpaid non-face-to-face time, like telephone calls and paperwork, a too-busy practice and inadequate compensation for lost time in the surgery.
Importantly, GPs said that there were urgent measures that would improve the quality of medical care in nursing homes. These include: more trained and experienced nurses and other health professionals, better access to palliative care services, mental health services and specialist care and reduced reliance on multiple medications for residents.