4839.0 - Patient Experiences in Australia: Summary of Findings, 2018-19 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 12/11/2019   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product

Key Findings

The Patient Experience Survey collected information from people aged 15 years and over about their experiences with selected health services for their own health in the last 12 months.

Health Service Use:

  • General Practitioners (GPs) were the most common health service professionals seen. More than eight in ten people (82.8%) saw a GP, followed by dental professionals (49.0%) and medical specialists (35.5%). These rates have decreased since last year (84.3%, 50.1% and 37.4% respectively).
  • Of people who needed to see a health professional, more than one in six people (17.6%) delayed seeing or did not see a dental professional due to cost compared to 7.7% for a medical specialist and 3.4% for a GP.

General Practitioners:
  • Of people who needed to see a GP, only 22.8% delayed seeing or did not see one at least once, the lowest rate in six years. This was a decrease of 16.5% since last year (27.3%).
  • Of these people, only 3.4% delayed seeing or did not see a GP at least once due to cost. People aged 15 to 24 years (3.7%) were more likely to delay seeing or not see a GP due to cost than those aged 65 years and over (0.9%).

After Hours GP Care:
  • One in fourteen people (7.2%) saw an after hours GP, the lowest rate in six years.
  • Of those who needed to and saw an after hours GP, the type of clinic most visited was a regular General Practice clinic (44.3%), followed by home visits (22.6%) and late night clinics (21.7%). The rate for home visits decreased by 18.1% since last year (27.6%).

Prescribed Medication:
  • More than two thirds of people (67.4%) had received a prescription for medication from a GP. This was a decrease of 3.3% since last year (69.7%).
  • Of those who needed a prescription for medication, people living in areas of most socio-economic disadvantage (9.7%) were more likely to delay getting or not get prescribed medication due to cost than those living in areas of least disadvantage (4.1%).

Medical Specialists:
  • Of those who needed to and saw a medical specialist, 29.6% saw a medical specialist four or more times. People who rated their health as fair or poor (47.3%) were twice as likely to see a medical specialist on four or more occasions than those who rated their health as excellent, very good or good (23.7%).
  • Of those who saw a medical specialist, 23.5% waited longer than they felt acceptable to get an appointment. This was an increase of 8.8% since last year (21.6%).

Dental Professionals:
  • Of people who needed to see a dental professional, 28.2% delayed seeing or did not see one at least once. This was a decrease of 7.2% since last year (30.4%).
  • Of those who needed to see a dental professional, 17.6% delayed seeing or did not see one at least once due to cost. People living in areas of most socio-economic disadvantage (24.3%) were more than twice as likely to delay seeing or not see a dental professional due to cost than those living in areas of least disadvantage (11.4%).

Hospital Admissions and Emergency Department Visits:
  • More than one in eight people (13.8% or 2.7 million) visited a hospital emergency department (ED) for their own health. This rate was similar to last year (14.3%).
  • Of people who visited an ED, 20.5% reported a GP was not available when required. People living in outer regional, remote or very remote areas (29.5%) were more likely to report visiting an ED because a GP was not available when required than those living in major cities (17.8%).

Private Health Insurance:
  • More than half (56.9%) of people had some form of private health insurance. This rate was the same as last year.
  • People aged 35 years and over (59.6%) were more likely to have some form of private health insurance than those aged 15 to 34 years (51.6%). These rates were similar to last year (59.9% and 51.2% respectively).

Coordination of Health Care:
  • More than one in seven people (15.1% or 3.0 million) saw three or more health professionals for the same condition. This was a decrease of 11.2% since last year (17.0%).
  • People living in outer regional, remote or very remote areas (17.9%) were more likely to report issues caused by a lack of communication between health professionals than those living in major cities (13.1%).