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Table 1 Sources of geographic GP datasets in Australia

From: General practitioner (family physician) workforce in Australia: comparing geographic data from surveys, a mailing list and medicare

Dataset source Geographic resolution Coverage Pros Cons Cost/Free Source of information Year of data used in analyses
Surveys: Australian Health and Welfare (AIHW) Medical Workforce Survey SLA (Statistical Local Area). SLA level data are available through special request only and at cost. FTE GPs GP Headcounts Extensive yearly survey of medical workforce. Sampling frame is all registered physicians and approximately 58,000 physicians answered the survey in 2007. In SLA level data Estimates are missing/suppressed, either from non-response or privacy concerns from a small number of responses from large sections of rural Australia. Cost Survey (70% response rate in 2007) 2007
Primary Health Care Research and Information Service (PHCRIS) Annual Survey of Divisions (ASD) DGP (Divisions of General Practice) FWE GPs GP Headcounts The survey had a 100% response rate from the 111 DGPs it was sent to in 2010. DGPs occupy large geographies, thus requiring additional datasets to analyze within DGP variation. Free Survey (100% response rate from divisions in 2010). GP FWE Data is from DoHA 2010
Mailing List: Australasian Medical Publishing Company (AMPCo) “doctor Lists” Individual points/ addresses/coordinates Headcounts Full time or Part time Excellent geographic resolution Workloads of part time GPs are not known Cost Data acquisition method is not published. 2010
Indirectly Derived: DoHA/Social Atlas of Australia from Public Health Information Development Unit (PHIDU) SLA Number of services provided by GPs Data provided by data custodian, thus valid and of good quality. FWE has to be indirectly derived by diving the total number of services provided with the average number of services provided in a given year. Free Data obtained by PHIDU from DoHA 2009