Australian Bureau of Statistics

Rate the ABS website
ABS Home > Statistics > By Release Date
ABS @ Facebook ABS @ Twitter ABS RSS ABS Email notification service
4839.0 - Patient Experiences in Australia: Summary of Findings, 2010-11  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/11/2011  First Issue
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product

GENERAL PRACTITIONERS, MEDICAL SPECIALISTS AND DENTAL PROFESSIONALS

This chapter presents data on people who had seen a general practitioner (GP), medical specialist and/or dental professional in the previous 12 months. Respondents were asked about the frequency of their visits, as well as about the services they had used, waiting times and financial barriers to accessing care. Aspects of communication with GPs, specialists and dental professionals are discussed in Chapter 4.

Most people aged 15 years and over access health services during the course of a year. GPs were the most common health service accessed, followed by dental professionals. Around 69% of people were prescribed medication in this time.




Visits to GPs

Around 14.5 million people aged 15 years and over (82%) visited a GP at least once in the previous 12 months. A higher proportion of women than men visited a GP (87% and 76% respectively) (see Table 3).

Most people who saw a GP in 2010-11 did so two or more times (81%). Rates and frequency of seeing a GP varied with age. Of those who saw a GP, around 72% of persons aged 75 years and over had seen one four or more times, compared with 36% of persons aged 45-54 and 32% of persons aged 15-24. One quarter (26%) of persons aged 75 years and over who had seen a GP had done so 12 or more times in the 12 months, compared with 9% of persons aged 45-54 and 6% of persons aged 15-24 (see Table 9).

Just over 15% of people who had seen a GP in the previous 12 months felt they had waited too long for an appointment. Around 8% of persons that needed to see a GP in the previous 12 months had delayed seeing or had not seen one because of the cost, while 3% of persons had to travel more than an hour to see one. This differed by geography - just under 2% of persons living in major cities had to travel more than 1 hour to see a GP compared with 10% of persons in outer regional or remote regions of Australia (see Table 7).

Almost one in five people who had seen a GP in the previous 12 months saw one for urgent medical care (18%). While most persons who needed to see a GP for urgent medical care had seen one within 4 hours (60%), 9% did not see a GP until two or more days after making an appointment for care they considered to be urgent (see Tables 8 & 10).

Visits to medical specialists

Around 5.8 million people aged 15 years and over (33%) had visited a medical specialist in the previous 12 months. Rates of visiting medical specialists generally increased with age, from 17% of men aged 15-24 to 58% of men aged 75 years and older; and from 23% of women aged 15-24 to 49% of women aged 75 years and older (see Table 3).

Around 12% of people that needed to see a medical specialist in the previous 12 months reported delaying or not seeing one because of the cost (see Table 7).

Visits to dental professionals

Nationally, nearly half of persons aged 15 years and over had seen a dental professional at least once in the previous 12 months (49%). As with GPs, more women than men had seen a dental professional (53% compared with 46%) (see Table 3).

Of those that needed to see a dental professional, women were more likely than men to delay doing so because of the cost (28% of women compared with 23% of men) (see Table 7).

Rates of seeing a dental professional were correlated with socio-economic circumstances. Of those that needed to see a dental professional, around 33% of persons living in areas of greatest disadvantage found the cost of dental visits a barrier, compared with 19% of persons in the least disadvantaged areas.

Overall, just over one in four persons who needed to see a dental professional had delayed seeing or had not seen one in the previous 12 months because of the cost (26%) (see Table 6).


Bookmark and Share. Opens in a new window

Commonwealth of Australia 2014

Unless otherwise noted, content on this website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia Licence together with any terms, conditions and exclusions as set out in the website Copyright notice. For permission to do anything beyond the scope of this licence and copyright terms contact us.