CHILDREN'S VISITS TO HOSPITAL EMERGENCY DEPARTMENTS
Around a quarter of Australian households with children under 15 had at least one child that had visited a hospital emergency department in the 12 months prior to the survey (27% or 629,100 households). For the greatest proportion of these households, only one child had visited an emergency department in this time (87%).
In households in areas of most disadvantage, 79% had one child visiting an emergency department in the 12 months prior to the survey and 21% had two or more children visiting. This was three times the rate of households in areas of least disadvantage, where the proportion that had two or more children visiting an emergency department in the last 12 months was 6%.
Tasmania had the lowest rate of hospital emergency visits for children (23% of households with children under 15) and WA, NT and Qld had the highest rates (around 32%).
When asked for the main reason the child was taken to an emergency department for the most recent visit, 36% of households responded that the child's condition was serious or life threatening and 33% of households said that it was due to the time of day or day of week.
As shown in Figure 7.1, a higher proportion of households in major cities reported taking their child to an emergency department because their child's condition was serious or life threatening than households in other areas of Australia.
7.1 Main reason child visited emergency department rather than GP (a),
(See Table 7.1 for more detail)
Also in relation to the most recent time a child in the household had been to an emergency department, people were asked whether they thought, at the time, the care could have been provided at a general practice. In over a third of households asked, people thought that it could have been (35%). This belief was lowest in South Australia at 22%, around half the rate of households in Tasmania, ACT, WA and NSW which were all above 40% (see Figure 7.2 below).
7.2 Thought care for child could have been provided at general practice for most recent visit to emergency (a),
(See Table 7.2 for more detail)