Introduction: Little is known about general practitioners' confidence and competence in managing medical emergencies, yet these qualities are vital to maximise patients' chances of survival.
Aim: To document the distribution and determinants of GPs' self reported levels of comfort and competence in managing medical emergencies, and GPs' interest in attending an emergency skills update course.
Methods: We conducted a random sample survey of 900 GPs in current clinical practice in southeast Queensland.
Results: Five hundred and twelve (57%) GPs responded to the questionnaire. An association between perceived levels of competence and the amount of training GPs received was demonstrated (P < 00.05 for 14 of 16 listed emergency skills), as was an association between level of comfort in managing emergencies and the frequency with which such emergency types are encountered in practice (P < 0.05 for 8 of 18 listed emergencies). Sixty-nine percent of GPs expressed interest in attending a specifically designed emergency medicine update course.
Conclusion: Postgraduate training in and experience with medical emergencies is important for GPs' confidence and competence in dealing with such emergencies. A proposed update course designed specifically for GPs was strongly supported.