4839.0.55.001 - Health Services: Patient Experiences in Australia, 2009  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 20/10/2011   
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Contents >> Use of health services >> General practitioner (GP)


Across Australia, approximately four out of five people aged 15 years and over had seen a general practitioner at least once in the year prior to the survey (around 81% or 14 million people).

As shown in Figure 1.1 below, women in every age group were more likely to have seen a GP than men, particularly in the younger age groups. Overall, 86% of Australian women had visited a general practitioner in the last 12 months compared with 75% of men. By the time people reached the age of 65, rates of visiting a GP were well over 90% for both men and women.

1.1 Saw a GP in the last 12 months, by Age and Sex

(See Table 1.2 for more detail)

In general, people living in major cities were more likely to have seen a GP (82%) than those living in outer regional or remote areas (78%). Across the States and Territories, people living in the ACT were the most likely to have seen a general practitioner (87%) while people living in the NT (76%) and Victoria (79%) were the least likely (see Tables 1.1 and 1.3 for more detail).

People who were not born in Australia were a little less likely to have seen a GP than people born in Australia (77% and 82% respectively), a pattern that was repeated across all the health services discussed in this chapter (shown here in Figure 1.2).

1.2 Use of health services in the last 12 months (a), by Country of birth

(See Table 1.1 for more detail)

Rates of seeing a GP clearly aligned with people's self-perception of their health - more people who felt their health was only fair or poor had seen a GP in the past year (95%) than people who felt their health was generally excellent, very good or good (79%).

More details of GP services (for example, prescriptions for medication) are available in Chapter 3. Details of people's experiences of communication with GPs (for example, whether received and understood an explanation of the reasons for prescribing medication) are available in Chapter 5.

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