4840.0.55.002 - Technical Manual: Patient Experiences in Australia, Expanded CURF, Jul 2009 to Dec 2009 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 22/06/2011  First Issue
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  • Quality Declaration - Summary



Confidentialised Unit Record Files (CURFs) are released in accordance with the conditions specified in the Statistics Determination section of the Census and Statistics Act 1905 (CSA). This ensures that confidentiality is maintained whilst enabling micro level data to be released. More information on the confidentiality practices associated with CURFs can be found in How is CURF data confidentialised?.

For information on the insititutional environment of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), including the legislative obligations of the ABS, financing and governance arrangements, and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations, please see ABS Institutional Environment.


Health Services: Patient Experiences provides national data on access and barriers to a range of health care services including general practitioners, medical specialists and other health professionals, imaging and pathology, after hours care and hospital/emergency departments. Data is also presented on patient experiences of care and information provision. It includes data from people that did not access health services as well as from those who did and enables analysis of health service information in relation to particular population groups.

Data on Patient Experience were collected as part of the 2009–10 Multipurpose Household Survey (MPHS). The MPHS is a supplement to the monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS) and is designed to provide annual statistics for a number of small, self-contained topics. Information was collected from one person selected at random in each selected household.

Information describing the level of detail provided on the CURF can be referenced in the data item list.


The 2009–10 MPHS sample was accumulated over the twelve month period from July 2009 to June 2010. Initial summary results from the survey were published on 30 July 2010 in Health Services: Patient Experiences in Australia 2009 (cat. no. 4839.0.55.001). The CURF is generally released around two months after the release of the initial summary publication but in the case of Patient Experience it was delayed eleven months while the entire MPHS file was processed.

This is the first in a series of regular Patient Experience topics to be conducted by the ABS.


The Patient Experience CURF contains individual person level data (unit records or microdata). Microdata are the most detailed information available from a survey and are generally the answers to most individual questions on the questionnaire or the data derived from the responses to two or more questions. Consequently, the CURF contains much finer levels of detail for most data items than what is otherwise published. For more information on the level of detail provided in the CURF, please refer to the data item list.

Steps to confidentialise the data made available on the CURF have been taken in such a way so as to maximise the usefulness of the content while at the same time maintaining the confidentiality of the respondents in the survey. As a result, it may not be possible to exactly reconcile all the statistics produced from the CURF with published statistics.

All sample surveys are subject to error which can be broadly categorised as either sampling error or non-sampling error.

Sampling error occurs because a sample, rather than the entire population, is surveyed. One measure of the likely difference resulting from not including all dwellings in the survey is given by the standard error. There are about two chances in three that a sample estimate will differ by less than one standard error from the figure that would have been obtained if all dwellings had been included in the survey, and about nineteen chances in twenty that the difference will be less than two standard errors.

Non-sampling error arises from inaccuracies in collecting, recording and processing the data. Every effort is made to minimise reporting error by the careful design of questionnaires, intensive training and supervision of interviewers, and efficient data processing procedures. Non-sampling error also arises because information cannot be obtained from all persons selected in the survey.

For more information on the survey methodology, concepts and definitions see Technical Manual: Patient Experiences in Australia, Expanded CURF, 2009 (cat. no. 4840.0.55.002).


This is the first Patient Experiences topic to be conducted by the ABS, and there are at this stage no comparable data sources.


The Technical Manual: Patient Experiences in Australia, Expanded CURF, 2009 (cat. no. 4840.0.55.002) is the key source for reference when using the CURF. It includes information about survey objectives, methods and design; survey content; data quality and interpretation; information about comparability with previous surveys; and the content of the CURF files. The Excel spreadsheet that accompanies the Technical Manual contains a complete list of all the data items included on the CURF. Further information about the survey can also be found in the Explanatory Notes section of the summary publication Health Services: Patient Experiences in Australia, 2009 (cat. no. 4839.0.55.001).


CURFs can only be accessed by organisations or individuals who have been given prior approval by the ABS. An application to access a particular CURF can be submitted through the ABS's secure on-line CURF application and management system MiCRO. Information about the steps required to apply for CURF access is provided in Technical Manual: Managing ABS Confidentialised Unit Record Files (CURFs): a Step by Step Guide, Aug 2009 (cat. no. 1406.0.55.004). All CURF users are required to read and abide by the 'Responsible Access to ABS Confidentialised Unit Record Files (CURFs) Training Manual' (cat. no. 1406.0.55.003). A full list of expected and available CURFs can be viewed via the Expected and available Microdata.

The Patient Experience Expanded CURF can be accessed through the ABS Remote Access Data Laboratory (RADL) or the ABS Data Laboratory (ABSDL). Further details regarding types and modes of access to CURFs can be found in CURF Access Modes and Levels of Detail.

The CURF Microdata Entry page contains links to all the information required for understanding and accessing CURFs. However, if other information is required, please contact the Microdata Access Strategies Section of the ABS at <email: <microdata.access@abs.gov.au> or phone: (02) 6252 7714.