Seminal research by Barbara Starfield and colleagues has shown that a strong Primary Care Health system is associated with improved patient outcomes, reduced costs and greater equity in the provision of health care. There is also evidence that primary health care professionals, such as general practitioners (GP), are capable of delivering good end of life care and the care they provide is appreciated by patients. Despite this, many General Practitioners (GP) are not involved in the provision of end of life care or in Advance Care Planning. This talk will present the findings of the literature and recent research conducted by the authors that illuminate the reasons for the lack of engagement of GPs. While barriers such as lack of time, remuneration, and knowledge have often been implicated, there may be other less obvious reasons on why GPs are not involved in Advance Care Planning or end of life care. The potential solutions and implications for policymakers, health care professionals and researchers will be discussed.
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