4839.0.55.002 - Patient Experiences in Australia: States and Territories, 2013-14 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/05/2015  First Issue
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KEY FINDINGS

This publication presents information from the 2013-14 Patient Experience Survey, which is the fifth in the series.

The ABS Patient Experience Survey is conducted annually and collects data on access and barriers to a range of health care services, including general practitioners (GPs), medical specialists, dental professionals, imaging and pathology tests, hospital admissions and emergency department visits. It includes data from people that accessed health services in the previous 12 months, as well as from those who did not, and enables analysis of health service information in relation to particular population groups. Data are also collected on aspects of communication between patients and health professionals.

Data on patient experience is of value to both users of health services as well as those aiming to improve the health system. High quality health care leads to better health outcomes, and barriers to accessing health services may impede the best possible outcome. The availability of GPs, impact of varying levels of service and the coordination of health care are all important factors in ensuring an accessible, high quality health care system for all Australians.

At the state and territory level, the results showed that:

GPs:
  • People in Tasmania were the most likely to have seen a GP in the previous 12 months (85.4%) compared with those in Western Australia (77.7%) and the Northern Territory (74.4%) who were the least likely.
  • Of those who saw a GP, Northern Territory had the highest proportion of people who reported they waited longer than they felt acceptable to get an appointment with a GP (26.5%) compared with Queensland which had the lowest proportion (19.2%).
  • People in the Australian Capital Territory were the most likely to have a preferred GP (81.3%) compared with the Northern Territory who were the least likely (63.7%).
  • People in South Australia were the most likely to have seen an after hours GP in the previous 12 months (10.1%) compared with Queensland who were the least likely (7.7%).
  • Queensland had the highest proportion of people who needed to see an after hours GP, but did not at all in the previous 12 months (29.1%) compared with South Australia which had the lowest proportion (17.3%).

Medical specialists:
  • People in the Australian Capital Territory were the most likely to have seen a medical specialist in the last 12 months (39.1%) compared with those in the Northern Territory who were the least likely (27.6%).
  • Tasmania had the highest proportion of people who needed to see a medical specialist, but did not at all in the previous 12 months (9.6%) compared with South Australia which had the lowest proportion (6.2%).
  • Of those who saw a medical specialist, people in the Northern Territory were the most likely to report they waited longer than they felt acceptable to get an appointment with a medical specialist (33.2%) compared with those in South Australia who were the least likely (18.8%).

Graph Image for Proportion of people 15 years and over, Waited longer than felt acceptable to see a medical specialist

Source(s): Patient Experience Survey: States and Territories



Dental professionals:
  • People in the Australian Capital Territory were the most likely to have seen a dental professional in the last 12 months (53.6%) compared with those in the Northern Territory who were the least likely (41.5%).
  • Tasmania had the highest proportion of people who needed to see a dental professional, but did not at all in the previous 12 months (22.5%) compared with the Australian Capital Territory which had the lowest proportion (12.5%).

Hospitals
  • People in South Australia were the most likely to be admitted to hospital in the last 12 months (14.6%) compared with those in New South Wales who were least likely (12.2%).
  • Tasmania had the highest proportion of people who needed to go to hospital, but did not at all in the previous 12 months (7.8%) compared with Western Australia which had the lowest proportion (4.0%).

Emergency Departments
  • People in the Northern Territory were the most likely to visit the emergency department (ED) in the last 12 months (17.4%) compared with those in Victoria who were the least likely (13.6%).
  • When asked the main reason they attended an ED rather than a GP, people in the Northern Territory were the most likely to report that a GP was not available when required (30.5%) whilst those in Tasmania were the least likely (15.7%).

Three or more health professionals
  • The Australian Capital Territory had the highest proportion of people who saw three or more health professionals for the same condition (21.6%) compared with the Northern Territory which had the lowest proportion (13.7%).
  • People in the Northern Territory were the most likely to report they experienced issues caused by a lack of communication between three or more health professionals (22.1%) compared with South Australia who were the least likely (10.4%).