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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   
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HOSPITALS, EMERGENCY DEPARTMENTS AND PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE


People access hospitals and emergency departments to detect and treat serious illness or injury. Information on levels of access is useful in determining service provision. In 2012–13, approximately 2.4 million people aged 15 years and over (12.9%) were admitted to hospital in the previous 12 months and 2.5 million (13.6%) had visited an emergency department (ED). The proportions of people who had visited an ED or been admitted to hospital have remained steady across the four cycles of the survey (2009 to 2012-13). (Tables 1 and 2.1)

ADMISSIONS TO HOSPITAL

The graph below shows admissions to hospital in the previous 12 months by age and sex. Overall, females are more likely than males to have been admitted to hospital (14.6% compared with 11.1%). This difference is particularly evident in the child bearing related age group of 15-44 years where females are more likely than males of the same age to have been admitted to hospital (14.1% compared with 6.5%). However, males are more likely to have been admitted after the age of 55 (19.7% compared to 16.8%). (Tables 2.1 and 2.2)

Graph Image for Proportion of persons aged 15 years and over, admitted to hospital in the previous 12 months, by age groups and sex

Source(s): Patient Experiences in Australia: Summary of Findings, 2012-13



Of those who were admitted to hospital in the previous 12 months, around three quarters were admitted only once (74.8%), 21.1% were admitted two to three times and 4.1% were admitted four or more times. (Table 14.2)

Admissions to hospital generally increase as the rate of socio-economic disadvantage increases. People living in areas of most socio-economic disadvantage were more likely to be admitted to hospital compared with those living in areas of least socio-economic disadvantage (14.0% compared with 11.3%). Those who live in the outer regional, remote and very remote areas of Australia were more likely to be admitted to hospital compared with those living in major cities (14.1% compared with 12.4%). (Table 3.2)

VISITS TO THE EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT

Of the 2.5 million people aged 15 years and over (13.6%) who went to the ED for their own health in the previous 12 months, 71.2% visited once, 23.0% visited two to three times and 5.8% visited four or more times. (Tables 3.1, 3.2 and 17.2)

People living in areas of most socio-economic disadvantage were more likely to visit the ED compared with those living in areas of least socio-economic disadvantage (15.6% compared with 11.3%). In addition, those living in outer regional, remote and very remote areas of Australia were more likely to visit the ED compared with those living in major cities (17.1% compared with 12.3%). (Table 18.2)

REASONS FOR GOING TO THE ED INSTEAD OF A GP

When asked the main reason they went to an ED instead of a GP on their most recent visit, around half reported that they felt their condition was serious or life threatening (49.6%). Around one quarter (25.5%) said it was because of the time of day or day of the week they needed care and 6.7% said they were sent there by a GP. A further 2.5% said that waiting times for a GP were too long. At the time of their most recent visit to the ED, 22.6% thought that the care they needed could have been provided by a GP. (Table 17.2)

PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE

Over half of all people aged 15 years and over have some form of private health insurance (55.1%). Almost one in two (45.8%) people aged 15 years and over have both hospital and extras cover, 5.8% have hospital cover only, 3.5% have extras cover only, while 44.8% of people do not have any type of private health insurance. Males were more likely to not have any private health insurance cover compared with females (46.3% compared with 43.4%). (Table 2.2)

The proportion of people who have both hospital and extras cover has remained steady over 2009 (44.5%), 2010–11 (44.7%) and 2012-13 (45.8%). (Table 1)

Of those who rated their health as fair or poor, 30.1% had hospital and extras cover whereas the proportion was 48.6% for those who rated their health as good, very good or excellent. (Table 3.2)

People living in major cities of Australia were more likely to have hospitals and extras cover than those living in outer regional, remote or very remote areas of Australia (48.6% compared with 40.6%). (Table 3.2)

The graph below shows that the proportion of people with hospitals and extras cover decreased as the level of socio-economic disadvantage increased. (Table 3.2)

Graph Image for Proportion of persons 15 year and over, Had private health insurance, hospital and extras cover in previous 12 months(a)

Footnote(s): (a) 2011 Socio-Economic Disadvantage. A lower Index of Disadvantage quintile (e.g. the first quintile) indicates an area with relatively greater disadvantage and a lack of advantage in general. A higher Index of Disadvantage (e.g. the fifth quintile) indicates an area with a relative lack of disadvantage and greater advantage in general.

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



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