Australian Bureau of Statistics

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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 >> Hospital and Emergency >> Main reason patients went to emergency department instead of a GP

MAIN REASON PATIENTS WENT TO EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT INSTEAD OF A GP

All people who had visited a hospital emergency department in the past 12 months were asked whether they thought, at the time of visiting, that the care they received on their most recent visit could have been provided by a GP, and depending on their answer, the main reason they thought the care could not have been provided by a GP, or the main reason they went to the emergency department instead of a GP.

Almost one in two people went to an emergency department on their most recent visit because they thought their condition was serious or life threatening (47%). Time of day or day of week was also a factor, with 23% of people providing this as their main reason.

The rate of people going to a hospital emergency department instead of a GP because they thought their condition was serious or life threatening was around one in two people in Queensland and NSW and around one in three people in Tasmania, the NT and the ACT.

Remoteness had an impact on people's reasons for going to a hospital emergency department instead a GP. Over 50% of people living in major cities went to an emergency department instead a GP because they thought their condition was serious or life threatening, compared with 37% of people living in outer regional or remote Australia.

On the other hand, around 12% of people in outer regional or remote Australia went to an emergency department because the waiting time for a GP appointment was too long, compared with around 2% of people in major cities. People from inner regional Australia were more likely to go to a hospital emergency department instead a GP due to the time of day or day of week than people in other areas (see Table 4.5 for details).

People who considered their health to be excellent, very good or good were less likely to go to an emergency department instead of a GP because their condition was serious or life threatening than people who considered their health to be fair or poor. They were, however, more likely to go due to the time of day or day of week than people who considered their health to be fair or poor.

People aged 65 to 74 years had the highest rate of going to a hospital emergency department instead of a GP because of a serious or life threatening condition (54%), and people aged 25 to 34 years had the lowest rate (39%). People either side of the 25 to 34 year age grouping had a rate closer to the national average (50% for people aged 15 to 24 years and 48% for people aged 35 to 44 years), shown here in Figure 4.7.

4.7 Went to emergency instead of GP because condition was serious or life threatening (a)(b), by Age

(See Table 4.5 for more detail)


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