To teach or not to teach? A cost-benefit analysis of teaching in private general practice

Caroline Olivia Laurence, Linda E. Black, Jonathan Karnon, Nancy E. Briggs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To identify the financial costs and benefits associated with teaching in private general practice.

Design: Cost-benefit analysis of teaching in private general practice across three levels of training - undergraduate medical training, prevocational training and general practice vocational training - using data from a 2007 survey of general practitioners in South Australia.

Setting and participants: GPs and practices teaching in association with the Adelaide to Outback GP Training Program or the Discipline of General Practice at the University of Adelaide.

Main outcome measure: Net financial outcome per week.

Results: The net financial outcome of teaching varied across the training levels. Practices incurred a net financial cost from teaching medical students that was statistically significantly different from zero. With respect to vocational training and teaching junior doctors, there were small net financial benefits to practices, although the mean estimates were not statistically significantly different from zero.

Conclusions: This study shows a net financial cost for practices teaching medical students, while at the prevocational and vocational training levels, adequate levels of subsidies and income generated by the trainees help offset the costs of teaching. Our results suggest that a review of subsidies for undergraduate teaching is necessary, particularly as the demand for teaching practices will increase substantially over the next 5 years.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)608-613
Number of pages6
JournalMedical Journal of Australia
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • economics
  • education
  • General Practice


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