8570.0 - Health Care Services, 2009-10 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 05/07/2011  First Issue
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This publication presents estimates of the economic and financial performance of businesses mainly engaged in providing medical and other health care services, in respect of the 2009–10 financial year. The statistics presented in this publication were compiled from a direct collect survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), under the authority of the Census and Statistics Act 1905.

For information on the institutional 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.


The main purpose of the estimates is to present detailed information on the financial performance and activity of businesses and organisations primarily engaged in providing medical and other health care services during the 2009–10 reference period.

The information is also used by government departments and economic analysts to assist in policy formulation and evaluation. Financial estimates include income, expenses and industry value added.

The businesses that contribute to the statistics in this publication are classified by:

  • industry, in accordance with the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006 edition (cat. no. 1292.0)
  • state and territory
  • region, based on self identified categories, namely "Capital cities and suburbs", "Rural" and "Remote" areas. This categorisation was done at the National level only (not separately within states and territories).
  • business size based on number of practitioners

The scope of the survey was all employing and significant non-employing private sector businesses and organisations with a non-cancelled ABN and active ITW or GST role, classified to the following ANZSIC06 classes:
  • 8511: General practice medical services
  • 8512: Specialist medical services
  • 8520: Pathology and diagnostic imaging services
  • 8531: Dental services
  • 8532: Optometry and optical dispensing services
  • 8533: Physiotherapy services
  • 8534: Chiropractic and osteopathic services
  • 8539: Other allied health services
  • 8591: Ambulance services
  • 8599: Other health care services

Note that government organisations were excluded from the scope of the survey.

The period covered by this collection, was in general, the twelve months ended 30 June 2010. Although financial estimates relate to the full twelve months, employment estimates relate to the last pay period ending in June 2010. As a result, estimates of wages and salaries per person may be affected by any fluctuations in employment during the reference period.

The collection was designed to deliver national estimates, and where possible state estimates for all in-scope industries.

This is an irregular collection where estimates are generally available within 12 months of the reference period to which they relate. For the 2009–10 reference period, questionnaires were dispatched by the ABS in August 2010 and estimates scheduled for release in June 2011.


The ABS aims to produce high quality data from its industry collections while minimising the reporting burden on businesses. To achieve this, extensive effort is put into survey and questionnaire design, collection procedures and processing. The 2009–10 survey used generalised regression estimation. Generalised regression estimation is a form of ratio estimation which makes use of auxiliary data items which are strongly correlated with key data items directly collected by the ABS from businesses. The auxiliary variables used in this survey were turnover and wages from data sourced from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Use of this methodology allowed high quality statistics to be produced from a small sample of 4,333 businesses.

Two types of error can occur in estimates that are based on a sample survey; sampling error and non-sampling error.

Sampling error occurs when a sample, rather than the entire population, is surveyed. It reflects the difference between estimates based on a sample and those that would have been obtained had a census been conducted. One measure of this difference is 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 businesses had been included in the survey, and about nineteen chances in twenty that the difference will be less than two standard errors.

Another measure of sampling error is the relative standard error, which is obtained by expressing the standard error as a percentage of the estimate to which it refers. The relative standard error is a useful measure in that it provides an immediate indication of the sampling error in percentage terms, and this avoids the need to refer also to the size of the estimate. Relative standard errors of key estimates are available in the Technical note on Data Quality of Health Care Services, 2009-10 (cat. no. 8570.0).

Non-sampling error arises from inaccuracies in collecting, recording and processing the data. Every effort was made to minimise reporting error, by the careful design of questionnaires, intensive training of survey analysts, and efficient data processing procedures.

Non-sampling error also occurs when information cannot be obtained from all businesses selected in the survey. For the 2009–10 health services survey, there was a 92.6% response rate from all businesses that were surveyed and found to be operating during the reference period. Data were imputed for the remaining 7.4% of operating businesses. Imputed responses contributed 6.4% to the estimate of total income for all selected industries.

The Medical Services survey was previously conducted by the ABS for the 1994–95 and 2001–02 reference periods. Data released in Private Medical Practitioners 2002, Australia (cat. no. 8689.0) and Private Medical Practices 2001-02, Australia (cat. no. 8685.0).

The Allied Health survey was previously conducted in respect of 1997-98, and data released in Chiropractic and Osteopathic Services 1997–98, Australia (cat. no. 8550.0), Dental Services 1997–98, Australia (cat. no. 8551.0), Physiotherapy Services 1997–98, Australia (cat. no. 8552.0), Optometry and Optical Dispensing Services 1997–98, Australia (cat. no. 8553.0), and Audiology and Audiometry Services 1997–98, Australia (cat. no. 8554.0).

While the ABS seeks to maximise consistency and comparability over time by minimising changes to the survey, sound survey practice requires ongoing development to maintain the integrity of the data, their relevance to the changing needs of users and the efficiency of the survey. There have been substantial changes in scope and methodology between the surveys, so users are advised not to make historical comparisons with previous iterations of this survey, as this survey was not designed to support accurate estimates of change over time.

These changes include:
  • use of the ABS Business Register instead of external frames.
  • changes to the statistical unit as a result of the introduction of The New Tax System on 1 July 2000
  • the inclusion of significant non-employing businesses in this survey
  • the introduction of generalised regression estimation methodology
  • major changes between the 1993 and 2006 editions of ANZSIC which affected some health care services sectors

Key annual industry data for ANZSIC06 subdivision 85 Medical and other health care services are published in Australian Industry (cat. no. 8155.0). There are important differences between statistics published in Australian Industry and Health Care Services publications, in regards to treatment of Micro Non Employing Units, and users should exercise caution when making comparisons between the two sets of estimates.


The estimates from the Health Care Services Survey are available only as original time series and are not seasonally or trend adjusted.

Although financial estimates in this release relate to the full twelve months, employment estimates relate to the last pay period ending in June of the given year.

Further information about terminology and other technical aspects associated with these statistics can be found in the publication Health Care Services (cat. no. 8570.0), which contains detailed Explanatory Notes, a Technical Note on Data Quality, a Technical Note on Estimation methodology and a Glossary.


Data from the 2009–10 Health Care Services Survey are available in a variety of formats. The formats available free of charge on the website are:
  • main features, which include key findings commentaries
  • a pdf version of the publication
  • spreadsheets which contain all the tables presented in the .pdf version of the publication together with additional tables.