Respiratory diseases and mental health problems account for one in five GP consultations
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GPs and emergency primary health care2012



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Respiratory diseases and mental health problems account for one in five GP consultations

In 2012, 68 per cent of the Norwegian population had at least one consultation with a regular GP; 62 per cent of men and 74 per cent of women. Respiratory diseases (including ear infections) and mental health problems are two of the most common reasons for consulting a doctor in Norway.

GP consultations per person, by age
0-5 years1.71.71.7
6-15 years1.01.11.1
16-19 years1.51.61.6
20-29 years2.12.12.1
30-49 years2.52.62.6
50-66 years3.13.23.2
67-79 years4.24.34.4
80-89 years4.85.05.2
90 years or older2.93.03.2

A patient’s first contact with the health services is usually through a general practitioner (GP). In 2012, we visited our GP 2.6 times a year on average. There was a small increase in the proportion who had consulted a doctor among the elderly, while there was a modest decline in the use of GPs in some of the younger age groups.

When do we consult a GP?

In addition to respiratory infections and mental health problems, people quite frequently see their GP for local pains and infections. On average, women had more consultations with their GP for these conditions than men. Thus, women's use of a physician in connection with pregnancy, contraception and genealogical issues only explains some of the differences in consultations by gender.

As shown in Figure 2, the elderly have far more consultations per thousand persons than younger people, and it is heart disease, hypertension and local pains and infections in particular that are the reasons for many visits to the doctor. The most common reason for children (0 to 15 years) visiting the doctor is respiratory infections.

Patterns in GP use by sociodemographic variables

There were significant differences in the use of GPs in different age groups. For the age groups 16 to 66 years, there was a clear pattern of more women than men visiting their GP. Primary school children had the smallest share of persons visiting a GP in 2012 (50 per cent), while the highest share was among persons aged 67-79 years (over 80 percent).

Regional differences in GP consultations

The differences in GP consultations between counties were relatively small, with 2.4 consultations per person in Hordaland (west coast) as the lowest, compared with 2.9 in Østfold as the highest. The use of GPs is lower in urban areas, where there is a high population growth and a fairly young population.

All diagnoses are coded according to the International Classification of Primary Care (ICPC -2). For more information on diagnosis, coding practice and classifications, click "About the statistics" and read, for example, “Definitions”.