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4839.0.55.001 - Health Services: Patient Experiences in Australia, 2009  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 20/10/2011   
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Contents >> Barriers to health services >> Barriers to specialists

BARRIERS TO SPECIALISTS

Of people aged 15 years and over who were referred to a specialist by a GP, approximately 10% (545,500 people) delayed seeing or did not see the medical specialist in the last 12 months because of the cost.

More people without private health insurance delayed seeing or did not see a medical specialist because of the cost (12% compared with 8% of people with private health insurance), however neither income, relative disadvantage, nor employment status had a significant impact on rates of people finding cost a barrier to seeing a specialist (see Table 2.1).

As people got older they found cost less of a barrier to seeing a specialist than did people in younger age groups, particularly those people aged 65 years or more. As with GPs, more women than men delayed seeing or did not see a medical specialist due to the cost.

2.2 Delayed seeing or did not see specialist in last 12 months due to cost (a), by Age and Sex

(See Table 2.1 for more detail)

One in five people who were referred to a medical specialist in the last 12 months (excluding people who had a proxy interview) felt they had waited longer than was acceptable to see the specialist (21% or 1,135,800 people). Across the States and Territories, the ACT had the highest rate of people who felt they had to wait too long to see a specialist (34%).

Figure 2.3 shows unacceptable waiting times were reported by more people in outer regional or remote areas of Australia than people in major cities (27% and 20% respectively).

2.3 Unacceptable waiting times for specialist appointment (a), by Remoteness

(See Table 2.4 for more detail)

People aged 75 years and over were less likely than any other age group to find waiting times for a specialist appointment unacceptable, as shown in Figure 2.4.

2.4 Unacceptable waiting times for specialist appointment (a), by Age

(See Table 2.5 for more detail)





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