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Patient Experiences in Australia: Summary of Findings

Contains data on access and barriers to, and experiences of, health care services including GPs, specialists, dental professionals, hospitals and EDs

Reference period
2018 - 2019

Key findings

The Patient Experience Survey collected information from people aged 15 years and over about their experiences with selected health services for their own health in the last 12 months.

    Health service use:

    • General Practitioners (GPs) were the most common health service professionals seen. More than eight in ten people (82.8%) saw a GP, followed by dental professionals (49.0%) and medical specialists (35.5%). These rates have decreased since last year (84.3%, 50.1% and 37.4% respectively).
    • Of people who needed to see a health professional, more than one in six people (17.6%) delayed seeing or did not see a dental professional due to cost compared to 7.7% for a medical specialist and 3.4% for a GP.
       

    General practitioners:

    • Of people who needed to see a GP, only 22.8% delayed seeing or did not see one at least once, the lowest rate in six years. This was a decrease of 16.5% since last year (27.3%).
    • Of these people, only 3.4% delayed seeing or did not see a GP at least once due to cost. People aged 15 to 24 years (3.7%) were more likely to delay seeing or not see a GP due to cost than those aged 65 years and over (0.9%).
       

    After hours GP care:

    • One in fourteen people (7.2%) saw an after hours GP, the lowest rate in six years.
    • Of those who needed to and saw an after hours GP, the type of clinic most visited was a regular General Practice clinic (44.3%), followed by home visits (22.6%) and late night clinics (21.7%). The rate for home visits decreased by 18.1% since last year (27.6%).
       

    Prescribed medication:

    • More than two thirds of people (67.4%) had received a prescription for medication from a GP. This was a decrease of 3.3% since last year (69.7%).
    • Of those who needed a prescription for medication, people living in areas of most socio-economic disadvantage (9.7%) were more likely to delay getting or not get prescribed medication due to cost than those living in areas of least disadvantage (4.1%).
       

    Medical specialists:

    • Of those who needed to and saw a medical specialist, 29.6% saw a medical specialist four or more times. People who rated their health as fair or poor (47.3%) were twice as likely to see a medical specialist on four or more occasions than those who rated their health as excellent, very good or good (23.7%).
    • Of those who saw a medical specialist, 23.5% waited longer than they felt acceptable to get an appointment. This was an increase of 8.8% since last year (21.6%).
       

    Dental professionals:

    • Of people who needed to see a dental professional, 28.2% delayed seeing or did not see one at least once. This was a decrease of 7.2% since last year (30.4%).
    • Of those who needed to see a dental professional, 17.6% delayed seeing or did not see one at least once due to cost. People living in areas of most socio-economic disadvantage (24.3%) were more than twice as likely to delay seeing or not see a dental professional due to cost than those living in areas of least disadvantage (11.4%).
       

    Hospital admissions and emergency department visits:

    • More than one in eight people (13.8% or 2.7 million) visited a hospital emergency department (ED) for their own health. This rate was similar to last year (14.3%).
    • Of people who visited an ED, 20.5% reported a GP was not available when required. People living in outer regional, remote or very remote areas (29.5%) were more likely to report visiting an ED because a GP was not available when required than those living in major cities (17.8%).
       

    Private health insurance:

    • More than half (56.9%) of people had some form of private health insurance. This rate was the same as last year.
    • People aged 35 years and over (59.6%) were more likely to have some form of private health insurance than those aged 15 to 34 years (51.6%). These rates were similar to last year (59.9% and 51.2% respectively).
       

    Coordination of health care:

    • More than one in seven people (15.1% or 3.0 million) saw three or more health professionals for the same condition. This was a decrease of 11.2% since last year (17.0%).
    • People living in outer regional, remote or very remote areas (17.9%) were more likely to report issues caused by a lack of communication between health professionals than those living in major cities (13.1%).

    Health service use

    The Patient Experience Survey collected information from people aged 15 years and over about their experiences with selected health services for their own health in the last 12 months.

    General Practitioners (GPs) were the most common health service professionals seen. More than eight in ten people (82.8%) saw a GP, followed by dental professionals (49.0%) and medical specialists (35.5%). This chapter focuses on these three most common health professionals.

    Overall, there was a general decrease in health service use since last year:

    • 1.8% decrease for GPs (from 84.3% last year to 82.8% this year).
    • 2.2% decrease for dental professionals (from 50.1% last year to 49.0% this year).
    • 5.1% decrease for medical specialists (from 37.4% last year to 35.5% this year).


    See Table 1 in Data downloads section.

    Download
    1. Includes dentist, dental hygienist and dental specialists.

    Waiting times

    Of people who saw a medical specialist, 23.5% waited longer than they felt acceptable to get an appointment. This was higher than for those who reported waiting longer than they felt acceptable for a GP appointment (18.8%).

    See Tables 4 and 10 in Data downloads section.

    Barriers

    This survey collected data from those who did not access health services, as well as from those who did. It is therefore possible to obtain information from people who may have needed to, but did not access this service, and the reasons why they did not.

    Of people who needed to see a health professional, more than one in six (17.6%) delayed seeing or did not see a dental professional due to cost compared to 7.7% for a medical specialist and 3.4% for a GP.

    See Tables 5.3, 11.3 and 14.3 in Data downloads section.

    Experience of health professionals

    The way a patient is treated by a health professional is an important aspect of their satisfaction with their care. Respondents who had seen a health professional were asked for their perceptions on how they were treated.

    People reported more positive experiences with dental professionals, followed by medical specialists and GPs:

    • 85.6% reported that the dental professional always listened carefully to them compared to 80.1% for medical specialists and 74.8% for GPs.
    • 88.4% reported that the dental professional always showed them respect compared to 84.0% for medical specialists and 81.1% for GPs.
    • 88.6% reported that the dental professional always spent enough time with them compared to 80.4% for medical specialists and 75.7% for GPs.
       

    See Tables 5.3, 11.3 and 14.3 in Data downloads section.

    General practitioners

    More than eight in ten people (82.8% or 16.4 million) aged 15 years and over saw a General Practitioner (GP) in the last 12 months. This was a decrease of 1.8% since last year (84.3%).

    The proportion of people who saw a GP varied by demographic and health characteristics:

    • Females (87.8%) were more likely to see a GP than males (77.6%).
    • People aged 65 years and over (94.9%) were more likely to see a GP than those aged 15-24 years (70.3%).
    • People who rated their health as fair or poor (96.5%) were more likely to see a GP than those who rated their health as excellent, very good or good (81.1%).
    • People with a long term health condition (94.4%) were more likely to see a GP than those without (71.2%).


    See Tables 1, 2.1, 2.3 and 3.2 in Data downloads section.

    Frequency of visits

    Of people who needed to and saw a GP, one in nine (11.5%) visited a GP 12 or more times. The number of GP visits varied by demographic and health characteristics:

    • People aged 85 years and over (32.3%) were almost five times more likely to see a GP on 12 or more occasions than those aged 15 to 24 years (6.6%).
    • People who rated their health as fair or poor (40.6%) were more than six times more likely to see a GP on 12 or more occasions than those who rated their health as excellent, very good or good (6.2%).
    • People with a long term health condition (18.4%) were almost eight times more likely to see a GP on 12 or more occasions than those without (2.4%).


    See Tables 5.3 and 6.2 in Data downloads section.

    Waiting times

    The proportion of people waiting longer than they felt acceptable for a GP appointment was 18.8%. This rate was similar to last year (19.2%).

    Waiting times for people who needed to and saw a GP varied by demographic and geographic characteristics:

    • Females (20.9%) were more likely to report waiting longer than they felt acceptable than males (16.5%).
    • People aged 15 to 64 years (20.6%) were more likely to report waiting longer than they felt acceptable than those aged 65 years and over (12.7%).
    • People living in areas of most socio-economic disadvantage (21.1%) were more likely to report waiting longer than they felt acceptable than those living in areas of least disadvantage (15.7%).
    • People living in outer regional, remote or very remote areas (22.3%) were more likely to report waiting longer than they felt acceptable than those living in major cities (17.8%).


    See Tables 4, 5.3 and 6.2 in Data downloads section.

    One in twelve people (8.4%) saw a GP for urgent medical care. Of those who saw a GP for urgent medical care:

    • Three in five people (60.9%) were seen by a GP within four hours of making an appointment.
    • One in nine people (11.2%) waited four hours or more but were seen within 24 hours of making an appointment.
    • More than one quarter (27.7%) waited 24 hours or more.
    • These rates were consistent with last year (63.3%, 9.9% and 26.7% respectively).
    • People living in major cities (63.5%) were more likely to be seen within four hours than those living in inner regional areas (55.0%).


    See Tables 1, 5.3 and 6.2 in Data downloads section.

    Download

    Barriers

    Of people who needed to see a GP, only 22.8% delayed seeing or did not see one at least once, the lowest rate in six years. This was a decrease of 16.5% since last year (27.3%). Of these people, only 3.4% delayed seeing or did not see a GP at least once due to cost.

    The proportion of people who needed to see a GP, but delayed seeing or did not see one due to cost, varied by demographic, health and geographic characteristics:

    • Females (4.0%) were more likely to delay seeing or not see a GP due to cost than males (2.7%).
    • People aged 15 to 24 years (3.7%) were more likely to delay seeing or not see a GP due to cost than those aged 65 years and over (0.9%).
    • People with a long term health condition (4.5%) were more likely to delay seeing or not see a GP due to cost than those without (1.9%).
    • People living in outer regional, remote or very remote areas (4.2%) were more likely to delay seeing or not see a GP due to cost than those living in major cities (3.2%).


    See Tables 4, 5.3 and 6.2 in Data downloads section.

    After hours GP care

    One in fourteen people (7.2%) saw an after hours GP, the lowest rate in six years.

    The proportion of people who saw an after hours GP varied by demographic, health and geographic characteristics.

    • Females (8.6%) were more likely to see an after hours GP than males (5.8%).
    • People aged 15 to 64 years (8.0%) were twice as likely to see an after hours GP than those aged 65 years and over (3.9%).
    • People who rated their health as fair or poor (10.1%) were more likely to see an after hours GP than those who rated their health as excellent, very good or good (6.8%).
    • People with a long term health condition (9.0%) were more likely to see an after hours GP than those without (5.3%).
    • People living in major cities (8.0%) were twice as likely to see an after hours GP than those living in outer regional, remote or very remote areas (3.8%).


    See Tables 1, 2.3 and 3.2 in Data downloads section.

    One in five people (19.7%) who needed to see an after hours GP did not see one at all. This rate was similar to last year (18.7%).

    Of those who needed to and saw an after hours GP:

    • The type of clinic most visited was a regular General Practice clinic (44.3%), followed by home visits (22.6%) and late night clinics (21.7%).
    • While the rate for visits to a regular General Practice clinic and late night clinics were similar to last year (40.8% and 18.5% respectively), the rate for home visits decreased by 18.1% since last year (27.6%).
    • 59.5% of people saw an after hours GP once, 30.2% saw an after hours GP two to three times, and 10.3% saw an after hours GP four or more times.


    See Tables 7 and 8.2 in Data downloads section.

    Download
    1. After hours means before 8am or after 1pm on a Saturday, any time on a Sunday or Public Holiday, or before 8am or after 8pm on any other day.

    Prescribed medication

    More than two thirds of people (67.4%) had received a prescription for medication from a GP. This was a decrease of 3.3% since last year (69.7%).

    Of those who needed a prescription for medication:

    • One in fifteen people (6.7%) delayed getting or did not get prescribed medication due to cost.
    • People living in areas of most socio-economic disadvantage (9.7%) were more likely to delay getting or not get prescribed medication due to cost than those living in areas of least disadvantage (4.1%).


    See Tables 1, 4 and 6.2 in Data downloads section.

    Experience of GPs

    Of those who saw a GP:

    • 74.8% reported that the GP always listened carefully to them.
    • 81.1% reported that the GP always showed them respect.
    • 75.7% reported that the GP always spent enough time with them.
    • These rates were consistent with last year (74.2%, 80.6% and 76.0% respectively).


    Experience of GPs varied by demographic characteristics:

    • People aged 65 years and over (82.9%) were more likely to report that the GP always listened to them than people aged 15-64 years (72.5%).
    • People aged 65 years and over (87.0%) were more likely to report that the GP always showed them respect than people aged 15-64 years (79.4%).
    • People aged 65 years and over (83.6%) were more likely to report that the GP always spent enough time with them than people aged 15-64 years (73.5%).


    See Table 5.3 in Data downloads section.

    Medical specialists

    More than one in three people (35.5% or 7.1 million) aged 15 years and over saw a medical specialist in the last 12 months. This was a decrease of 5.1% since last year (37.4%).

    The proportion of people who saw a medical specialist varied by demographic, health and geographic characteristics:

    • Females (38.3%) were more likely to see a medical specialist than males (32.6%).
    • People aged 65 years and over (55.7%) were more than twice as likely to see a medical specialist than those aged 15-24 years (22.3%).
    • People who rated their health as fair or poor (66.2%) were more than twice as likely to see a medical specialist than those who rated their health as excellent, very good or good (31.2%).
    • People with a long term health condition (52.4%) were almost three times more likely to see a medical specialist than those without (18.7%).
    • People living in areas of least socio-economic disadvantage (39.3%) were more likely to see a medical specialist than those living in areas of most disadvantage (34.3%).
    • People living in major cities (35.6%) were more likely to see a medical specialist than those living in outer regional, remote or very remote areas (33.2%).


    See Tables 1, 2.1, 2.3 and 3.2 in Data downloads section.

    Download

    Frequency of visits

    Of those who needed to and saw a medical specialist:

    • 31.2% saw a medical specialist once.
    • 39.1% saw a medical specialist two to three times.
    • 29.6% saw a medical specialist four or more times.


    The number of medical specialist visits varied by demographic, health and geographic characteristics:

    • Females (30.7%) were more likely to see a medical specialist on four or more occasions than males (28.3%).
    • People who rated their health as fair or poor (47.3%) were twice as likely to see a medical specialist on four or more occasions than those who rated their health as excellent, very good or good (23.7%).
    • People with a long term health condition (34.0%) were almost twice as likely to see a medical specialist on four or more occasions than those without (17.4%).
    • People living in areas of most socio-economic disadvantage (33.4%) were more likely to see a medical specialist on four or more occasions than those living in areas of least disadvantage (26.7%).


    See Tables 11.3 and 12.2 in Data downloads section.

    Waiting times

    Of those who saw a medical specialist, 23.5% waited longer than they felt acceptable to get an appointment. This was an increase of 8.8% since last year (21.6%).

    Waiting times for those who needed, were referred to, and saw a medical specialist varied by demographic, health and geographic characteristics:

    • Females (25.5%) were more likely to report waiting longer than they felt acceptable than males (20.8%).
    • People who rated their health as fair or poor (29.6%) were more likely to report waiting longer than they felt acceptable than those who rated their health as excellent, very good or good (21.3%).
    • People with a long term health condition (25.3%) were more likely to report waiting longer than they felt acceptable than those without (17.2%).
    • People living in areas of most socio-economic disadvantage (25.5%) were more likely to report waiting longer than they felt acceptable than those living in areas of least disadvantage (21.2%).


    See Tables 10, 11.3 and 12.2 in Data downloads section.

    Barriers

    Of people who needed to see a medical specialist:

    • 17.4% delayed seeing or did not see one at least once.
    • This rate was similar to last year (18.6%).
    • Females (18.5%) were more likely to delay seeing or not see a medical specialist than males (16.1%).
    • People aged 15-24 years (24.3%) were almost three times more likely to delay seeing or not see a medical specialist than those aged 65 years and over (8.5%).
    • One in ten people (9.7%) delayed seeing or did not see a medical specialist for reasons other than cost. This was a decrease of 10.2% since last year (10.8%).


    Of those who needed to see a medical specialist, 7.7% delayed seeing or did not see one at least once due to cost. This rate was similar to last year (7.9%).

    The proportion of people who needed to see a medical specialist, but delayed seeing or did not see one due to cost, varied by demographic, health and geographic characteristics:

    • Females (9.1%) were more likely to delay seeing or not see a medical specialist due to cost than males (6.0%).
    • People aged 15-24 years (12.3%) were more likely to delay seeing or not see a medical specialist due to cost than those aged 65 years and over (2.1%).
    • People who rated their health as fair or poor (10.4%) were more likely to delay seeing or not see a medical specialist due to cost than those who rated their health as excellent, very good or good (7.0%).
    • People with a long term health condition (8.8%) were almost twice as likely to delay seeing or not see a medical specialist due to cost than those without (4.5%).
    • People living in major cities (8.2%) were more likely to delay seeing or not see a medical specialist due to cost than those living in outer regional, remote or very remote areas (5.9%).


    See Tables 10, 11.3 and 12.2 in Data downloads section.

    Experience of medical specialist services

    Of those who needed to and saw a medical specialist:

    • 80.1% reported that the medical specialist always listened carefully to them.
    • 84.0% reported that the medical specialist always showed them respect.
    • 80.4% reported that the medical specialist always spent enough time with them.
    • These rates were consistent with last year (79.6%, 82.8% and 80.4% respectively).


    Experience of medical specialists varied by demographic characteristics:

    • People aged 65 years and over (85.0%) were more likely to report that the medical specialist always listened carefully to them than those aged 15-64 years (78.1%).
    • People aged 65 years and over (87.7%) were more likely to report that the medical specialist always showed them respect than those aged 15-64 years (82.5%).
    • People aged 65 years and over (84.9%) were more likely to report that the medical specialist always spent enough time with them than those aged 15-64 years (78.5%).


    See Table 11.3 in Data downloads section.

    Dental professionals

    Almost one in two people (49.0% or 9.7 million) aged 15 years and over saw a dental professional in the last 12 months. This was a decrease of 2.2% since last year (50.1%).

    The proportion of people who saw a dental professional varied by demographic, health and geographic characteristics:

    • Females (53.0%) were more likely to see a dental professional than males (44.7%).
    • People aged 15-24 years (49.8%) were more likely to see a dental professional than those aged 85 years and over (38.2%).
    • People who rated their health as excellent, very good or good (49.4%) were more likely to see a dental professional than those who rated their health as fair or poor (42.4%).
    • People with a long term health condition (50.9%) were more likely to see a dental professional than those without (47.0%).
    • People living in areas of least socio-economic disadvantage (60.6%) were more likely to see a dental professional than those living in areas of most disadvantage (38.4%).
    • People living in major cities (51.0%) were more likely to see a dental professional than those living in outer regional, remote or very remote areas (40.8%).


    See Tables 1, 2.1, 2.3 and 3.2 in Data downloads section.

    Download
    1. Includes dentist, dental hygienist and dental specialists.

    Frequency of visits

    Of people who needed to and saw a dental professional:

    • 42.6% saw a dental professional once.
    • 45.7% saw a dental professional two to three times.
    • 11.8% saw a dental professional four or more times.


    The number of dental visits varied by demographic, health and geographic characteristics:

    • Females (12.6%) were more likely to see a dental professional on four or more occasions than males (10.7%).
    • People who rated their health as fair or poor (16.5%) were more likely to see a dental professional on four or more occasions than those who rated their health as excellent, very good or good (10.7%).
    • People with a long term health condition (13.6%) were more likely to see a dental professional on four or more occasions than those without (9.8%).
    • People living in areas of most socio-economic disadvantage (15.2%) were more likely to see a dental professional on four or more occasions than those living in areas of least disadvantage (9.0%).


    See Tables 14.3 and 15.2 in Data downloads section.

    Barriers

    Of people who needed to see a dental professional, 28.2% delayed seeing or did not see one at least once. This was a decrease of 7.2% since last year (30.4%). People aged 15-24 years (23.9%) were more likely to delay seeing or not see a dental professional than those aged 65 years and over (18.0%).

    Of those who needed to see a dental professional, 17.6% delayed seeing or did not see one at least once due to cost. This rate was similar to last year (18.1%). One in four people (25.9%) aged 25 to 34 years delayed seeing or did not see a dental professional due to cost, the highest of any age group.

    The proportion of people who needed to see a dental professional, but delayed seeing or did not see one due to cost, varied by demographic and geographic characteristics:

    • Females (19.1%) were more likely to delay seeing or not see a dental professional due to cost than males (15.6%).
    • People aged 15-24 years (13.7%) were more likely to delay seeing or not see a dental professional due to cost than those aged 65 years and over (9.3%).
    • People living in areas of most socio-economic disadvantage (24.3%) were more than twice as likely to delay seeing or not see a dental professional due to cost than those living in areas of least disadvantage (11.4%).
    • People living in outer regional, remote or very remote areas (23.0%) were more likely to delay seeing or not see a dental professional due to cost than those living in major cities (16.4%).


    See Tables 14.3 and 15.2 in Data downloads section.

    Download
    1. Includes dentist, dental hygienist and dental specialists.
    2. 2016 Index of Relative Socio-Economic Disadvantage: A lower Index of Disadvantage quintile (e.g. the first quintile) indicates relatively greater disadvantage and a lack of advantage in general. A higher Index of Disadvantage (e.g. the fifth quintile) indicates a relative lack of disadvantage and greater advantage in general.
       

    Public dentistry

    Of people who needed to see a dental professional, one in nineteen (5.4%) had been placed on a public dentistry waiting list. This rate was similar to last year (5.0%).

    The proportion of people who had been placed on a public dentistry waiting list varied by demographic, health and geographic characteristics:

    • Females (6.0%) were more likely to be placed on a public dentistry waiting list than males (4.7%).
    • People aged 65 years and over (9.0%) were almost twice as likely to be placed on a public dentistry waiting list than those aged 15-64 years (4.6%).
    • People who rated their health as fair or poor (16.1%) were four times more likely to be placed on a public dentistry waiting list than those who rated their health as excellent, very good or good (3.8%).
    • People living in areas of most socio-economic disadvantage (14.5%) were more likely to be placed on a public dentistry waiting list than those living in areas of least disadvantage (1.2%).
    • People living in outer regional, remote or very remote areas (8.5%) were almost twice as likely to be placed on a public dentistry waiting list than those living in major cities (4.5%).


    Of those who needed to and saw a dental professional, one in eight (12.2%) received public dental care. This rate was similar to last year (12.5%).

    The proportion of people who received public dental care varied by demographic, health and geographic characteristics:

    • People aged 15-24 years (20.7%) were more likely to receive public dental care than people aged 65 years and over (13.8%).
    • People who rated their health as fair or poor (27.1%) were almost three times more likely to receive public dental care than those who rated their health as excellent, very good or good (9.7%).
    • People who had a long term health condition (15.5%) were more likely to receive public dental care than those without (8.7%).
    • People living in areas of most socio-economic disadvantage (25.8%) were five times more likely to receive public dental care than those living in areas of least disadvantage (5.0%).
    • People living in outer regional, remote or very remote areas (19.2%) were almost twice as likely to receive public dental care than those living in major cities (10.3%).


    See Tables 14.3 and 15.2 in Data downloads section.

    Experience of dental professionals

    Of those who needed to and saw a dental professional:

    • 85.6% reported that the dental professional always listened carefully to them. This rate was similar to last year (85.4%).
    • 88.4% reported that the dental professional always showed them respect. This rate has slightly increased since last year (87.9%).
    • 88.6% reported that the dental professional always spent enough time with them. This rate was similar to last year (87.9%).


    Experiences of dental professionals varied by geographic characteristics:

    • People living in areas of least socio-economic disadvantage (87.8%) were more likely to report that the dental professional always listened carefully to them than those living in areas of most socio-economic disadvantage (81.1%).
    • People living in areas of least socio-economic disadvantage (90.5%) were more likely to report that the dental professional always showed them respect than those living in areas of most socio-economic disadvantage (84.2%).
    • People living in areas of least socio-economic disadvantage (90.2%) were more likely to report that the dental professional always spent enough time with them than those living in areas of most socio-economic disadvantage (84.5%).


    See Tables 14.3 and 15.2 in Data downloads section.

    Hospital admissions, emergency department visits and private health insurance

    In the last 12 months, of those aged 15 years and over:

    • One in eight people (12.8% or 2.5 million) were admitted to hospital.
    • More than one in eight people (13.8% or 2.7 million) visited a hospital emergency department (ED) for their own health.
    • These rates were similar to last year (12.5% and 14.3% respectively).


    See Tables 1 and 2.1 in Data downloads section.

    Hospital admissions

    Of those who were admitted to hospital:

    • 73.2% were admitted once.
    • 21.8% were admitted two to three times.
    • 4.9% were admitted four or more times.


    See Table 16 in Data downloads section.

    The proportion of people who were admitted to hospital varied by demographic and health characteristics:

    • Overall, females (14.5%) were more likely to have been admitted to hospital than males (11.0%). This difference is particularly evident in the child bearing age group of 15 to 44 years where females (13.5%) were more than twice as likely to have been admitted to hospital than males (5.9%).
    • People aged 65 years and over (20.9%) were more likely to have been admitted to hospital than those aged 15 to 24 years (7.9%).
    • People who rated their health as fair or poor (30.5%) were almost three times more likely to have been admitted to hospital than those who rated their health as excellent, very good or good (10.2%).
    • People with a long term health condition (19.0%) were more likely to have been admitted to hospital than those without (6.6%).


    See Tables 2.3 and 3.2 in Data downloads section.

    Download

    Emergency department visits

    The proportion of people who visited the ED for their own health varied by demographic, health and geographic characteristics:

    • Females (14.5%) were more likely to visit the ED than males (13.2%).
    • People aged 75 years and over (20.4%) were more likely to visit the ED than those aged 15 to 74 years (13.3%).
    • People who rated their health as fair or poor (29.1%) were more than twice as likely to visit the ED than those who rated their health as excellent, very good or good (11.5%).
    • People with a long term health condition (19.0%) were more than twice as likely to visit the ED than those without (8.7%).
    • People living in areas of most socio-economic disadvantage (16.6%) were more likely to visit the ED than those living in areas of least disadvantage (10.7%).
    • People living in outer regional, remote or very remote areas (16.6%) were more likely to visit the ED than those living in major cities (12.8%).


    See Tables 2.3 and 3.2 in Data downloads section.

    Download

    One in six people (16.8%) who visited the ED thought care could have been provided by a General Practitioner (GP) for their most recent visit. This rate was similar to last year (18.0%).

    People reported the main reason they went to an ED instead of a GP as follows:

    • 47.1% reported that they were taken by ambulance or the condition was serious.
    • 20.5% reported a GP was not available when required. People living in outer regional, remote or very remote areas (29.5%) were more likely to report visiting an ED because a GP was not available when required than those living in major cities (17.8%).
    • 12.4% reported that the GP did not have the required equipment or facilities.
    • 10.5% reported that they were sent to emergency by a GP.


    See Tables 19, 20.2 and 21.2 in Data downloads section.

    Experience of hospital and emergency department

    People who went to hospital:

    • Reported similar rates for hospital nurses (79.7%) and hospital doctors and specialists (77.1%) for always listened carefully to them.
    • Reported more positive experiences with hospital nurses than with hospital doctors and specialists as follows:
      • 82.2% reported that the hospital nurses always showed them respect compared to 79.1% for hospital doctors and specialists.
      • 78.3% reported that the hospital nurses always spent enough time with them compared to 74.1% for hospital doctors and specialists


    These rates were consistent with last year:

    • 77.6% reported that the hospital nurses always listened carefully to them compared to 76.2% for hospital doctors and specialists.
    • 80.7% reported that the hospital nurses always showed them respect compared to 78.6% for hospital doctors and specialists.
    • 76.7% reported that the hospital nurses always spent enough time with them compared to 73.6% for hospital doctors and specialists.


    People who visited an ED reported more positive experiences with ED nurses than with ED doctors and specialists:

    • 77.3% reported that the ED nurses always listened carefully to them compared to 70.4% for ED doctors and specialists.
    • 80.0% reported that the ED nurses always showed them respect compared to 75.0% for ED doctors and specialists.
    • 74.7% reported that the ED nurses always spent enough time with them compared to 68.0% for ED doctors and specialists.


    These rates were consistent with last year:

    • 75.1% reported that the ED nurses always listened carefully to them compared to 70.7% for ED doctors and specialists.
    • 77.2% reported that the ED nurses always showed them respect compared to 73.2% for ED doctors and specialists.
    • 72.7% reported that the ED nurses always spent enough time with them compared to 68.1% for ED doctors and specialists.


    See Tables 17.2 and 20.2 in Data downloads section.

    Private health insurance

    More than half (56.9%) of people had some form of private health insurance. This rate was the same as last year.

    Of those with private health insurance:

    • 46.3% had both hospital and extras cover.
    • 5.9% had hospital cover only.
    • 4.6% had extras cover only.
    • These rates were consistent with last year (46.3%, 6.1% and 4.5% respectively).


    People aged 35 years and over (59.6%) were more likely to have some form of private health insurance than those aged 15 to 34 years (51.6%). These rates were similar to last year (59.9% and 51.2% respectively).

    Private health insurance coverage was also varied by other demographic, health and geographic characteristics:

    • Females (58.1%) were more likely to have some form of private health insurance than males (55.6%).
    • People who rated their health as excellent, very good or good (59.7%) were more likely to have some form of private health insurance than those who rated their health as fair or poor (39.4%).
    • People without a long term health condition (59.3%) were more likely to have some form of private health insurance than those with a long term health condition (54.5%).
    • People living in areas of least socio-economic disadvantage (78.4%) were more than twice as likely to have some form of private health insurance than those living in areas of most disadvantage (33.0%).
    • People living in major cities of Australia (60.1%) were more likely to have some form of private health insurance than those living in outer regional, remote or very remote areas of Australia (47.0%).


    See Tables 1, 2.3 and 3.2 in Data downloads section.

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    1. 2016 Index of Relative Socio-Economic Disadvantage: A lower Index of Disadvantage quintile (e.g. the first quintile) indicates relatively greater disadvantage and a lack of advantage in general. A higher Index of Disadvantage (e.g. the fifth quintile) indicates a relative lack of disadvantage and greater advantage in general.

    Coordination of health care

    More than one in seven people (15.1% or 3.0 million) aged 15 years and over saw three or more health professionals for the same condition in the last 12 months. This was a decrease of 11.2% since last year (17.0%).

    Females (17.5%) were more likely to see three or more health professionals for the same condition than males (12.6%).

    These rates were lower than in 2014-15:

    • 15.0% decrease for females (from 20.6% in 2014-15 to 17.5% this year).
    • 14.9% decrease for males (from 14.8% in 2014-15 to 12.6% this year).


    See Tables 1, 2.3 and 23.1 in Data downloads section.

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    The proportion of people who saw three or more health professionals for the same condition varied by demographic, health and geographic characteristics:

    • People aged 65 years and over (19.7%) were more likely to see three or more health professionals for the same condition than those aged 15 to 64 years (14.0%).
    • People who rated their health as fair or poor (39.5%) were more likely to see three or more health professionals for the same condition than those who rated their health as excellent, very good or good (11.5%).
    • People with a long term health condition (24.7%) were more likely to see three or more health professionals for the same condition than those without (5.5%).
    • People living in inner regional Australia (17.5%) were more likely to see three or more health professionals for the same condition than those living in major cities (14.6%) and outer regional, remote or very remote areas (14.4%).


    See Tables 2.3 and 3.2 in Data downloads section.

    Of people who saw three or more health professionals for the same condition, over seven in ten (71.6%) reported that at least one health professional helped coordinate their care.

    Of those who received coordination of their care:

    • General Practitioners helped coordinate care most (58.8%), followed by medical specialists (26.0%).
    • 96.4% of people reported that it was helpful, either to a large extent (70.0%) or to some extent (26.4%).
    • People aged 65 years and over (75.4%) were more likely to report that the coordination of care was helpful to a large extent than those aged 15 to 64 years (68.0%).


    See Tables 22 and 23.2 in Data downloads section.

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    1. Care coordinated by at least one health professional.
       

    One in seven people (14.1%) reported that there were issues caused by a lack of communication between health professionals.

    The proportion of people who reported that there were issues caused by a lack of communication between health professionals varied by health and geographic characteristics:

    • People who rated their health as fair or poor (17.8%) were more likely to report issues caused by a lack of communication between health professionals than those who rated their health as excellent, very good or good (12.1%).
    • People with a long term health condition (15.3%) were more likely to report issues caused by a lack of communication between health professionals than those without (9.1%).
    • People living in areas of most socio-economic disadvantage (15.7%) were more likely to report issues caused by a lack of communication between health professionals than those living in areas of least disadvantage (11.5%).
    • People living in outer regional, remote or very remote areas (17.9%) were more likely to report issues caused by a lack of communication between health professionals than those living in major cities (13.1%).


    See Tables 22 and 24.2 in Data downloads section.

    Other health professionals

    More than six in ten people (62.7% or 12.4 million) aged 15 years and over saw at least one type of health professional (excluding General Practitioners, dental professionals and medical specialists) in the last 12 months.

    Radiographers or Sonographers (38.6%) were the most common other health professionals seen, followed by Chemists or Pharmacists for advice only (18.5%) and Physiotherapists or Hydrotherapists (16.6%).

    See Tables 25.1 and 25.3 in Data downloads section.

    The proportion of people who saw at least one type of other health professional varied by demographic, health and geographic characteristics:

    • Females (68.8%) were more likely to see other health professionals than males (56.4%).
    • People aged 65 years and over (75.4%) were more likely to see other health professionals than those aged 15-24 years (49.9%).
    • People who rated their health as fair or poor (84.3%) were more likely to see other health professionals than those who rated their health as excellent, very good or good (59.8%).
    • People with a long term health condition (77.9%) were more likely to see other health professionals than those without (47.6%).
    • People living in inner regional areas (65.8%) were more likely to see other health professionals than those living in major cities (62.3%) and outer regional, remote or very remote areas (60.4%).


    See Tables 25.3 and 26.2 in Data downloads section.

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    Data downloads

    Tables 1-3 Experience of health services

    Tables 4-6 Experience of GP services

    Tables 7-9 Experience of after hours GP care

    Tables 10-12 Experience of medical specialist services

    Tables 13-15 Experience of dental services

    Tables 16-18 Experience of hospital services

    Tables 19-21 Experience of emergency department

    Tables 22-24 Experience with three or more health professionals

    Tables 25-26 Experience of other health professionals

    Data item list

    Survey material

    4839.0 - Questionnaire