Multidisciplinary care of chronic illness: views of patients of low socioeconomic status and their GPs

Project Status

Project Coordinator
Tim Shortus, Elizabeth Comino and Nicholas Zwar


There have been significant changes in the approach to mangement of chronic illness in Australia with the introduction of the Enhanced Primary Care package in 1999 which included care planning. If these new Medicare items are to help improve care of chronic illness they need to be understood and acceptable to both patients and GPs. Chronic illness is overrepresented amongst people of low SES background and therefore it is of particular importance to assess whether these new measures are acceptable to this group of patients.


To identify what patients of low SES with chronic illness and their GPs think about chronic illness, their health care and the concept of care planning.

Design and Method

The study utilised qualitative research methods. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with patients of low SES who had a chronic illness. Semi-structured interviews were also conducted with their GPs. A focus group was conducted with a subset of the patients interviewed to discuss the results of the interviews and validate the analysis.

Key Publications

Shortus T, Rose V, Comino E, Zwar N. Patients' views on chronic illness and its care in general practice. Aust Fam Physician. 2005; 34: 397-399.