Public expectations of the Australian health services have been strongly influenced in the past by the dominant role played by general practitioners in primary medical care. A household survey in Sydney has shown that despite growing discussion on the economics and quality of health care the public still demonstrates a great deal of faith in the ability of general practitioners to perform surgical, obstetrical, and other specialized procedures. Some elements in the population, however, notably groups who have migrated from the United Kingdom and Northern Europe to Australia, show more discrimination in their assessment of general practitioner care. It can be anticipated that the attitudes of the public towards the health services will become much more sophisticated in the future and the role of the general practitioner will have to change accordingly.
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