BEACH GONE, DARKNESS RETURNS.

Haven’t posted on my blog for a while but think that I should resurrect it.

A recent media release got my attention…

From the Family Medicine Research Centre.  University of Sydney 11 April 2016

The current contract with Australian Government Department of Health (DoH) for a partial contribution to the costs of the BEACH (Bettering the Evaluation and Care of Health) program finishes on 30th June 2016.

We have been informed that there will be no further funding from DoH for the BEACH program.

BEACH has always struggled to gain sufficient funds each year. However, this notification comes when we also have a large shortfall in funding coming from other organisations such as NGOs and pharmaceutical companies, due to closure of many Government instrumentalities and authorities, and the heavy squeeze on pharmaceutical companies’ profits, resulting from changes to the PBS.

We therefore have no choice but to close the BEACH program. This will leave Australia with no valid, reliable and independent source of data about activities in general practice.

We also have no funds available to produce the annual BEACH report and the ‘decade of Australian general practice activity’ report for this year. Officially, the program will close on the 30th of June, after contracted deliverables to the DoH and other funding organisations are complete. We are committed to supporting the GPs who are currently participating in the study, and will ensure that they are able to complete the study and receive their quality improvement points. However, we cannot support any more GPs to start the study given the short timeframe involved.

The BEACH team wishes to thank all the organisations who have supported BEACH over the last 18 years, in any capacity.

Most importantly we thank the 11,000+ GPs throughout Australia who have participated one or more times in the program, making a big contribution and generously giving their time to do so.

BEACH has been the only continuous national study of general practice in the world which relies on random samples of GPs, links management actions to the exact problem being managed, and provides extensive measurement of prevalence of diseases, multimorbidity and adverse medication events (to name just a few subjects of the many SAND sub-studies conducted in the BEACH program).

Without the GPs, we would not have had the data to report.

Without BEACH there will be very little reliable, independent national information about GP clinical activity in the future.

This loss of BEACH data turns off a light on General Practice in Australia, returning us the dark ages. We will now have to depend upon the muddies waters of government data which may be spun for political gain. And half-arsed efforts by groups like the Gratton Institute who recently wrote a report on chronic disease care in Australia and suggested

“Ineffective management of heart disease, asthma, diabetes and other chronic diseases costs the Australian health system more than $320 million each year in avoidable hospital admissions”

Closure of BEACH program after 18 years.

If you would like to know more about Beach contact Professor Helena Britt
Tel: +612 9845 8150  Mob +61 411 197 938

helena.britt@sydney.edu.au
Director, Family Medicine Research Centre, University of Sydney .

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