BARRIERS TO SEEING A GP
In 2009, approximately 1.1 million Australians aged 15 years or more (6%) delayed seeing or did not see a GP in the previous year because of the cost.
More people in Queensland (8%) and WA (8%) said they had delayed seeing or not seen a GP in the last 12 months because of the cost than people in Tasmania, NSW or SA (all 5%). There was no significant difference between people living in more disadvantaged areas and those in less disadvantaged areas, nor was there any particular difference between major cities, inner regional and outer regional/remote areas of Australia (see Tables 2.1 and 2.2).
Whether or not a person had private health insurance had an effect, however, with almost twice as many people without private health insurance reporting cost as a barrier to seeing a GP as people with private health insurance (8% compared with 5%).
As shown in Figure 2.1, people under the age of 45 were more likely to have reported cost as a barrier to seeing a GP than people aged 45 years and over. After the age of 45, finding cost a barrier declined fairly steadily with age. Women were also more likely than men to have found cost a barrier to seeing a GP, which may relate to the fact that a greater proportion of women accessed GP services.
2.1 Delayed seeing or did not see GP in past 12 months due to cost (a),
by Age and Sex
(See Table 2.1 for more detail)
Almost one-sixth of people who saw a GP for their own health in the 12 months prior to the survey felt they had waited longer than was acceptable to get an appointment with a GP (18% or around 2.4 million people). Again this differed with age and sex, with more women than men (21% compared with 14%) and more young people than older people finding the waiting time unacceptable. Across the States and Territories, the ACT had the highest proportion of people who felt they had waited too long to see a GP (22%).
Excluding people living in very remote regions of Australia, 3% of Australians aged 15 years and over (414,400 people) had travelled longer than an hour to see a GP at some time in the past year.