When you have a long term illness.
It is a sad fact of life that as we age most of us develop a long term health condition of some sort. Common examples include high blood pressure or high cholesterol, diabetes or chronic back pain. Any condition that requires ongoing medication and repeat visits to the doctor is a long term health problem.
Studies have shown that most people with long term health problems improve when their health care is well planned and a team approach is used. This is usually better than waiting for something to go wrong - it is proof of the old saying that prevention is better than cure.
For this reason we try to take a structured approach.
If you have a long term illness then we will ask you to allow us to write a GP Management Plan, also known as a Care Plan.
This is a plan approved by medicare that lists all your health problems and the steps we are taking to manage them.
We may also develop with you a Team Care Plan, if your condition require help from another provider, such as a podiatrist or specialist.
These plans are usually written out by the nurses before being fine tuned by the doctor with your help. They help you by helping us provide better care, by giving you access to services that you would not otherwise be entitled to ( eg medicare funded podiatry) and by reducing the cost of your consultations as we get paid more by medicare.
However, you will need to follow through with the plans and return regularly for the review if you want to reap the reward of better health. A plan is not enough - it is the actions that count.