General Practice Statistics - 2000-01 to 2017-18

This section of the website contains information on General Practice Statistics up to 2017-18.

Page last updated: 02 December 2019

GP Workforce Statistics (Excel 453 KB)
GP Workforce Explanatory Notes 2017-18 (PDF 238 KB)
GP Workforce Explanatory Notes 2017-18 (Word 55 KB)

Reporting on General Practitioners in the Future

The Department is moving to a new way of counting General Practitioners (GPs) and calculating their work effort to better reflect actual workloads and more effectively address maldistribution of health services. New data methods specific to health workforce planning activities have been developed to provide a unique count of General Practitioners (GP Headcount) and their work effort (GP Full Time Equivalent). The new methods are different from other methods previously used by the Department and consider a broader range of primary care Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) items. The new methods have been developed as part of the Health Demand and Supply Utilisation Patterns Planning (HeaDS UPP) Tool. HeaDS UPP is a single, integrated, quality source of health workforce and services data that provides sophisticated and comprehensive evidence to inform workforce planning and analysis.

Future reporting on GPs will use the new data methods. Until such time that data produced using the new data methods is published, the Department will continue to make available on this webpage data produced using the previous methods.

The new data methods

GP Headcount is a workforce specific method of headcount for GPs working in Australia (Number of GPs). The method uses elements from the MBS data set to count when, where and by what type of practitioner GP services are being delivered. The Number of GPs is based on these aspects of MBS data:
  • MBS items within GP’s scope of practice as agreed by Commonwealth Medical Advisors and GPs
  • A review of a GP’s services over a whole year to determine their Main Derived Major Speciality (MDMS), and

A unique identifier to enable distinct counts by MDMS.

GP Full Time Equivalent (GPFTE) is a workforce specific method to estimate the workload of GPs. The method calculates a GP’s workload based on the MBS services claimed as well as patient and doctor factors that affect the duration of a consultation. One GPFTE represents a 40 hour week per week for 46 weeks of the year. For each Medicare provider, the measure attributes an estimate of the amount of time they have spent on their claims compared to what would be worked by a full-time GP, including billable time, non-billable time, and non-clinical time.

GP services counts the number of services by GPs and is based on the latest review of primary health care GP items on the MBS schedule. Some items have been restricted in particular areas to account for the difference in the scope of GP activity across metropolitan, regional, rural and remote areas.

For more information go to the About HeaDS UPP web page