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released: 2 Dec 2009 author: Britt H, Miller GC, Charles J, Henderson J, Bayram C, Pan Y, Valenti L, Harrison C, Fahridin S & O'Halloran J media release

This report presents results from the eleventh year of the BEACH program, a national study of general practice activity. From April 2008 to March 2009, 1,011 general practitioners recorded data about 101,100 GP-patient encounters involving the management of 149,462 problems. For an `average' 100 encounters, GPs recorded 106 medications, 34 clinical treatments, 17 procedures, 9 referrals to specialists and 4 to allied health services, and ordered 46 pathology and 10 imaging tests.

ISSN 1442-3022; ISBN 978 1 74024 972 0; Cat. no. GEP 25; 198pp.; Internet only

Full publication

Publication table of contents

  • Preliminary material (230KB PDF)3
    • Title and verso pages
    • Foreword
    • Contents
    • Acknowledgments
    • Abbreviations
    • Symbols
    • Executive summary 3
  • Body section
    1. Overview (129KB PDF)
      • 1.1 Background
      • 1.2 The BEACH program
      • 1.3 Issues when using BEACH data with other national data
      • 1.4 Access to BEACH data
    2. Methods (193KB PDF)
      • 2.1 Sampling methods
      • 2.2 Recruitment methods
      • 2.3 Data elements
      • 2.4 The BEACH relational database
      • 2.5 Supplementary Analysis of Nominated Data
      • 2.6 Statistical methods
      • 2.7 Classification of data
      • 2.8 Quality assurance
      • 2.9 Validity and reliability
      • 2.10 Extrapolated national estimates
    3. The sample (193KB PDF)
      • 3.1 Response rate
      • 3.2 Representativeness of the GP sample
      • 3.3 Weighting the data
      • 3.4 Representativeness of the final encounter sample
      • 3.5 The weighted data set
    4. The participating GPs (179KB PDF)
      • 4.1 Characteristics of the GP participants
      • 4.2 Computer use at GP practices
      • 4.3 Changes in characteristics of the GPs over the decade 1999–00 to 2008–09
    5. The encounters (173KB PDF)
      • 5.1 Content of the encounters
      • 5.2 Encounter type
      • 5.3 Consultation length
      • 5.4 Changes in the encounters over the decade 1999–00 to 2008–09
    6. The patients (194KB PDF) 4
      • 6.1 Age–sex distribution of patients at encounter
      • 6.2 Other patient characteristics
      • 6.3 Patient reasons for encounter
      • 6.4 Changes in patients and reasons for encounter over the decade 1999–00 to 2008–09
    7. Problems managed (213KB PDF)
      • 7.1 Number of problems managed at encounter
      • 7.2 Problems managed by ICPC-2 chapter
      • 7.3 Problems managed by ICPC-2 component
      • 7.4 Most frequently managed problems
      • 7.5 Most common new problems
      • 7.6 Most frequently managed chronic problems
      • 7.7 Work-related problems managed
      • 7.8 Management of lipid problems in 2008–09
      • 7.9 Changes in problems managed over the decade 1999–00 to 2008–09
    8. Overview of management (171KB PDF)
      • 8.1 Changes in management over the decade 1999–00 to 2008–09
    9. Medications (235KB PDF)
      • 9.1 Source of medications
      • 9.2 Prescribed medications
      • 9.3 Medications supplied by GPs
      • 9.4 Medications advised for over-the-counter purchase
      • 9.5 Opioids prescribed or supplied in 2008–09
      • 9.6 Changes in medications over the decade 1999–00 to 2008–09
    10. Other treatments (174KB PDF)
      • 10.1 Number of other treatments
      • 10.2 Clinical treatments
      • 10.3 Procedural treatments
      • 10.4 Changes in other treatments over the decade 1999–00 to 2008–09
    11. Referrals and admissions (197KB PDF)2
      • 11.1 Number of referrals and admissions
      • 11.2 Most frequent referrals
      • 11.3 Problems most often referred
      • 11.4 Changes in referrals over the decade 1999–00 to 2008–09
    12. Investigations (188KB PDF)
      • 12.1 Number of investigations
      • 12.2 Pathology ordering
      • 12.3 Imaging ordering
      • 12.4 Other investigations
      • 12.5 Full blood counts ordered in 2008–09
      • 12.6 Changes in investigations over the decade 1999–00 to 2008–09
    13. Practice nurse activity (197KB PDF)
      • 13.1 Practice nurse Medicare claims and practice nurse activity
      • 13.2 Problems managed with practice nurse involvement
      • 13.3 Discussion
      • 13.4 Changes in practice nurse activity, 2005–06 to 2008–09
    14. Patient risk factors (209KB PDF)
      • 14.1 Body mass index
      • 14.2 Smoking (patients aged 18 years and over)
      • 14.3 Alcohol consumption (patients aged 18 years and over)
      • 14.4 Risk factor profile of adult patients
      • 14.5 Changes in patient risk factors over the decade 1999–00 to 2008–09
    15. SAND abstracts and research tools (2.4MB PDF)
      • SAND abstract number 122: Hypertension and use of combination products in general practice patients
      • SAND abstract number 123: Prevalence and management of migraine among general practice patients
      • SAND abstract number 124: Weight loss attempts among general practice patients
      • SAND abstract number 125: Oral corticosteroid use and osteoporosis
      • SAND abstract number 126: Asthma and allergic rhinitis in general practice patients
      • SAND abstract number 127: Chronic pain in general practice patients
      • SAND abstract number 128: Chronic kidney disease among general practice patients
      • SAND abstract number 129: Asthma in general practice patients
      • SAND abstract number 130: Diabetes Type 2 and dyslipidaemia in general practice patients
      • SAND abstract number 131: Prevalence and management of migraine
      • SAND abstract number 132: Prevalence and patterns of multimorbidity
      • SAND abstract number 133: Generic medication substitution for general practice patients
      • SAND abstract number 134: Antipsychotic medication use in general practice patients
      • SAND abstract number 135: Diabetes in general practice patients
      • SAND abstract number 136: Depressive disorders in general practice patients
      • SAND abstract number 137: Osteoporosis in general practice patients
      • SAND abstract number 138: Dyslipidaemia in general practice patients
      • SAND abstract number 139: Secondary prevention of heart attack and stroke
      • SAND abstract number 140: Atrial fibrillation/flutter in general practice patients
      • SAND abstract number 141: Smoking cessation attempts and methods used by general practice patients
      • SAND abstract number 142: Depression and antidepressant use in general practice patients
  • End matter (827KB PDF)1
    • References
    • Glossary
    • Appendices
      1. Example of a 2008–09 recording form
      2. GP characteristics questionnaire,2008–09
      3. Dissemination of results from the BEACH program
      4. Code groups from ICPC-2 andICPC-2 PLUS
      5. Chronic code groups from ICPC-2 and ICPC-2 PLUS
    • List of tables
    • List of figures

Notes and corrections

The current version of the publication is presented above.

Previous versions of files that have been updated or corrected are presented below.

  1. (2 November 2009) Appendices 3–5 were not available as part of the printed copy.
  2. (3 November 2009)Data for the allied health professionals for the current year 2008–09 has been updated on page 87.
  3. (11 February 2010)On preliminary page xiv, under ‘Referral and admissions’ the earlier version incorrectly stated referrals to specialists as 6 per 100 encounters. This should read 9 per 100 encounters. The revised PDF includes this change.
  4. (18 March 2010) Data for the ‘other’ patient characteristics (i.e. new patient to practice, Commonwealth concession card, Repatriation health card and Non- English–speaking background) for the current year 2008–09 have been corrected on page 42.

Recommended citation

Britt H, Miller GC, Charles J, Henderson J, Bayram C, Pan Y, Valenti L, Harrison C, Fahridin S & O'Halloran J 2009. General practice activity in Australia 2008-09. Cat. no. GEP 25. Canberra: AIHW. Viewed 2 September 2014 <http://www.aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=6442468308>.