General practice's early response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Aust Health Rev. 2020 Sep;44(5):733-736. doi: 10.1071/AH20157.


The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in multiple changes in the delivery of general practice services. In response to the threat of the pandemic and in order to keep their businesses safe and viable, general practices have rapidly moved to new models of care, embraced Medicare-funded telehealth and responded to uncertain availability of personal protective equipment with innovation. These changes have shown the adaptability of general practice, helped keep patients and practice staff safe, and undoubtedly reduced community transmission and mortality. The pandemic, and the response to it, has emphasised the potential dangers of existing fragmentation within the Australian health system, and is affecting the viability of general practice. These impacts on primary care highlight the need for improved integration of health services, should inform future pandemic planning, and guide the development of Australia's long-term national health plan.

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Betacoronavirus / pathogenicity
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / diagnosis*
  • Early Diagnosis*
  • General Practice / methods
  • General Practice / organization & administration*
  • General Practice / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Pandemics / prevention & control*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / diagnosis*
  • Primary Health Care / methods
  • Primary Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Primary Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • State Medicine / organization & administration*
  • State Medicine / statistics & numerical data
  • Telemedicine / methods
  • Telemedicine / organization & administration*