Publications & Reports

Qualitative understandings of access to primary care services for consumers who use methamphetamine.

Ward B, Lane R, Quinn B, Russell G
PhD, Associate Professor, School of Rural Health, Monash University, Vic; Behaviours and Health Risks Program, Burnet Institute, Vic.


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: General practice is the most common source of healthcare for people who use methamphetamine. The aim of this study was to explore primary care providers' understandings of access to and service utilisation by this group. METHOD: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with general practitioners, practice nurses and alcohol and other drug service providers from two large towns in rural Victoria. RESULTS: Participants (n = 8) reported that availability (workforce shortages, time, complex clinician-client relationships), acceptability (stigma) and appropriateness of care (skill mix, referral networks, models of care) were associated with access to care for this population. Affordability of care was not perceived to be of concern. DISCUSSION: Availability of care is not enough to ensure utilisation and improved health outcomes among consumers who use methamphetamine. Provision of services to this group and to other substance-using populations requires the right ‘skill mix’ across and within healthcare organisations.

Link to publisher’s web site


  • Journal: Australian Journal of General Practice
  • Published: 01/07/2021
  • Volume: 50
  • Issue: 7
  • Pagination: 505-510