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, 2012-13 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 21/11/2013   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product


GENERAL PRACTITIONERS

General practitioners (GP) are widely used in Australia and are the first point of contact for health issues for many Australians. People can access GPs for a variety of reasons including short-term illnesses, preventive health practices and management of long term health conditions. It is therefore important that people are able to access a GP in a timely manner and receive care that meets their needs, both in terms of ease of access and the care provided. This chapter presents data on people who saw a GP 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 barriers to accessing care. Respondents were also asked about the level of service provided, with the vast majority of people reporting a positive experience (89.5% of people who saw a GP in the last 12 months reported that the GP always or often listened carefully to them, while 92.8% reported that the GP always or often showed them respect).

Most people aged 15 years and over accessed health services during the previous year. The graph below shows that GPs were the most common health service accessed in 2012-13, with eight out of ten people (81.1%) seeing a GP at least once in the previous 12 months. This is very similar to 2011–12 (80.9%). Dental professionals were the second most common health service accessed (49.4%), followed by medical specialists (33.6%). (Table 1)

Graph Image for Proportion of persons15 years and over, Use of selected health services in previous 12 months(a)

Footnote(s): (a) Includes dentist, dental hygienist and dental specialist

Source(s): Patient Experiences in Australia: Summary of Findings



The proportion of people who saw a GP in the previous 12 months has remained steady over the last four years; 2009 (80.8%), 2010–11 (81.6%), 2011-12 (80.9%) and 2012-13 (81.1%). A higher proportion of females than males saw a GP in the previous 12 months (86.6% compared with 75.4%). (Tables 1 and 2.2)

FREQUENCY OF VISITS

Depending on a person's health situation, someone may need to go to a GP more or less frequently. Of the 14.9 million people aged 15 years and over who had seen a GP at least once in the previous 12 months, 16.9% had been once, 38.0% had been two to three times, 33.2% had been 4 to 11 times and 11.9% had been 12 or more times. The frequency of seeing a GP varied with age. Of people aged 85 years and over who saw a GP, nearly one in three (30.6%) saw a GP on twelve or more occasions in the previous 12 months, compared with just 6.0% of people aged 15–24. (Tables 5.1 and 5.2)

The graph below shows that females in the age groups most closely related to child bearing (25–34 years) are much more likely than males the same age to have visited a GP 12 or more times in the previous year.

Graph Image for Proportion of persons 15 years and over, Visited a GP 12 or more times in previous 12 months

Source(s): Patient Experience Survey: Summary of Findings



In addition, the number of times a person saw a GP in the previous 12 months was related to how healthy they considered themselves to be. Of those who saw a GP, those who considered their health to be fair or poor were more likely to see a GP 12 or more times in the previous 12 months, compared with those who felt their health to be good, very good or excellent (39.7% compared with 7.0%). (Table 6.2)

The frequency of seeing a GP was also related to whether the respondent had a long term health condition. Of those who saw a GP, those with a long term health condition were more likely to have gone four or more times (62.0%) compared with those without a long term health condition (26.8%). Of these, those with a long term health condition were also more likely than those without a long term health condition to have gone 12 or more times (19.6% compared with 3.6%). (Table 6.2)

WAITING TIMES

Difficulties in obtaining appointments when required can be both frustrating and sometimes even have a detrimental effect on a person's overall health. Of those who saw a GP in the previous 12 months, 20.0% of people waited longer than they felt was acceptable to get an appointment with a GP. Females were more likely to report waiting longer than acceptable compared with males (22.0% compared with 17.7%). People aged 65 years and over reported the smallest proportion of people waiting longer than they felt acceptable at 11.9%. (Tables 5.1 and 5.2)

People living in outer regional, remote or very remote areas of Australia were more likely to report waiting longer than acceptable compared with those living in major cities (23.8% compared with 19.3%). (Table 6.2)

BARRIERS

One of the benefits of a household based survey is that data can be collected from those who did not access health services as well as from those that did. It is therefore possible to obtain information from people who may have needed to access a health service, but did not access this service, and the reasons they did not access the health service.

Of the 15 million people aged 15 years and over who needed to see a GP in the previous 12 months, just under 10 million people (66.0%) saw a GP when needed and did not delay for any reason. Of people who needed to see a GP in the previous 12 months, 5.4% delayed seeing or did not see a GP at least once because of the cost. Females were more likely to delay or not see a GP due to cost than males (6.7% compared with 4.0%). (Tables 5.1 and 5.2)


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.