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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Most people who had visited a general practitioner in the past year had seen their GP more than once in that time (81% or 11.4 million people). Until the age of 75, in fact, most people had visited a GP two to three times in the past year.

Around 70% of people aged 75 years and over had seen a GP four or more times in the year, with almost one in four people this age seeing a GP 12 or more times in the year (24%).

Less than nine percent of people aged under 55 had seen a GP 12 or more times in the year (see Figure 3.1).

3.1 Frequency of visits to GP in last 12 months (a), by Age

(See Table 3.2 for more detail)

Overall, one in ten people who had seen a GP in the past year made 12 or more visits in that time (11% or 1.5 million people). This was highest in areas of most disadvantage, for which the rate of seeing a GP more than 12 times a year (17%) was nearly three times that of people living in areas of least disadvantage (6%). Rates of seeing a GP less than 12 times a year, however, did not differ significantly between levels of disadvantage.

People from the Northern Territory had seen a GP less frequently than other Australians - for the most part, three times or less in a year (81% compared with the national average of 61%).

Throughout this publication, it can be seen that there is a clear relationship between people's self-assessed health and their use of health services. Figure 3.2 shows that people who rated their general health as fair or poor were more likely to see a GP more frequently than those who rated their health as good or better.

3.2 Frequency of GP visits (a), by Self-assessed health

(See Table 3.1 for more detail)

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