In the first national snapshot of paediatician consultations in Australia published in The Medical Journal of Australia, some interesting facts have emerged.

Children Attending Paediatricians Study: a national prospective audit of outpatient practice from the Australian Paediatric Research Network

Harriet Hiscock, Gehan Roberts, Daryl Efron, Jillian R Sewell, Hannah E Bryson, Anna M H Price, Frank Oberklaid, Michael South and Melissa A Wake

MJA 2011; 194 (8): 392-397

The ten common conditions are listed with the frequency in brackets. The time given for the first consultation is also given  – the first figure shows the normal allocated time and the second the additonal time.

1. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (10%) [average consultation time-first visit – 47.6 + 12.2 minutes]
2. Learning difficulty/disability (8%)  [average consultation time-first visit – 55.1 + 15.2 minutes]
3. Eczema (7%)  [average consultation time-first visit – 41.3 + 6.9 minutes]
4. Behaviour (6%)  [average consultation time-first visit -51.3 + 13.2 minutes]
5. Language delay(6%)  [average consultation time-first visit -53.2 + 17.7 minutes]
6. Asthma (6%)  [average consultation time-first visit – 45.2 + 8.5 minutes]
7. Allergy — other food† (6%)  [average consultation time-first visit -36.2 + 7.1 minutes]
8. Dermatological/skin problems‡ (5%)  [average consultation time-first visit -33.6 + 8.2 minutes]
9. Baby check (premature/full-term) (5%)  [average consultation time-first visit -29.8 + 5.9 minutes]
10. Anxiety (5%)  [average consultation time-first visit -50.0 + 11.0 minutes]

I am fascinated by this study. First, what is interesting is that ADHD and behavioural problems forms the large bulk of the Australian paediatricians’ workload. Second, is the amount of time allocated to the first consultation.

The situation in Malaysia is very different – both in the type of problems seen for paediatric consultations and the length of time given to patients in the first consultations.

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