Royal Australian College of General Practitioners President, Dr Frank Jones

"As GPs we have a unique opportunity to change patients' habits."


Choosing Wisely Australia launch: Dr Frank Jones


We're very pleased to be in this initiative  because as a GP we see about 80-85 percent  of the population every year  and we have this continuous relationship with our patients.  We have an unique opportunity to change habits.  It's nice just to take a breath in,  have a look at what you're doing  and we are trained as scientists  and we should question each and every step  that we take with our patients.  But more important than any of that  is to bring the patients on our journey with us  because really it's about quality patient outcomes.
Many of my patients are on a medication  for indigestion type problems,  reflux where the acid comes up into the gullet and burns.  And they have been discharged from hospital on occasion  on high doses of this particular medication  and they've been on it for an awful long time.  Now we know that being on this medication  can cause ill health down the track.  It can affect your bones.  It can affect other parts of your gut.  It can also cause kidney issues. 

Although they are particularly rare,  they can cause ill effects.  And so one has to ask, do you need this medication  all the time to reduce the acid in your stomach?  And the answer to that is no.  It doesn't mean that you need a test or referral  or a prescription for every ailment.  And I think that's a conversation  that GPs are uniquely placed to have because we know our patients. 
Now as a flow on effect from that  if we stop doing some of these unnecessary investigations  and tests there may well be a benefit  for the health economy of Australia.  
So I think there's a win-win situation here  but as I say the most important person in this equation  is the patient. 

Last reviewed 21 July 2016

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