USE OF OTHER HEALTH SERVICES
This topic refers to information collected about respondents' consultations with a nominated health professional other than a doctor or dentist/dental professional for the respondent's own health. In these consultations, some discussion and/or treatment of a health related matter or medical condition took place, or was arranged. Excluded are:
- occasions where respondents may have visited the professional only to obtain medical supplies, aids, etc. For example, consulting a chemist about a medication would be included, while visiting a chemist simply to fill a prescription would not
- consulting an optometrist about a sight problem would be included but going to an optometrist to have a pair of glasses made to prescription would not
- consultations occurring during a stay in hospital, or visit to a casualty/emergency or outpatients unit, or day clinic
- consultations with nurses as part of a doctor or dental consultation (including dental nurses); these are included under doctor and dental consultations respectively (see Doctor consultations and Dental consultations for more information).
Information was obtained for all persons in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS).
Non-remote respondents were provided with a prompt card about whether they had consulted any of the listed other health professionals in the two weeks prior to interview:
- Aboriginal health worker
- Accredited counsellor
- Alcohol and drug worker
- Chemist — for advice only
- Occupational therapist
- Social worker/welfare officer
- Speech therapist/pathologist
- Traditional Healer
If so, the respondent was asked to identify which types of other health professional (OHP) had been consulted. More than one response was allowed. Followed by which of these they had been visited most recently, if more than one was selected.
Non-remote respondents were then asked whether they had to pay any money for seeing the OHP(s) that had been consulted in their last visit.
Remote respondents were provided with a prompt card about whether they had consulted any of the listed other health professionals in the two weeks prior to interview:
- Social worker or Welfare officer
- Traditional Healer
- Alcohol and drug worker
- Other (specify)
If so, the respondent was asked to identify which types of other health professional (OHP) had been consulted. More than one response was allowed. Respondents were then asked which of these they had visited most recently, if more than one was selected.
All respondents were then asked whether they needed to go to an other health professional in the previous 12 months but didn't. If yes, this was followed by a question regarding the reason they didn't go, from the below responses:
- Service not culturally appropriate
- Language problems
- Does not trust other health professional
- Waiting time too long or not available at time required
- Not available in area
- Too busy (including work, personal, family responsibilities)
- Dislikes service/professional, afraid, embarrassed
- Felt it would be inadequate
- Decided not to seek care
More than one response was allowed.
Data items and related output categories for this topic will be available in Excel spreadsheet format from the Downloads
page of this product.
Points to be considered when interpreting data for this topic include the following:
Comparability with 2004-05 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS)
- The data relate only to those types of other health professionals specified in the survey and hence should not, in aggregate, be interpreted as relating to all health professionals other than doctors and dentists.
- Despite the point above, some misreporting of type of OHP may have occurred. For example, in cases where the distinction between types of OHP was unclear in the respondent's mind and/or the professional practised more than one form of treatment (e.g. chiropractor/osteopath, naturopath/herbalist)
- Conceptually, consultations were only to be recorded where some treatment and/or discussion of a health related matter took place. However, it is recognised that this distinction may be difficult to make in some cases and interpretation may differ between respondents. In particular, the likelihood of reported consultations with chemists and opticians/optometrists being outside the defined scope of the survey should be considered.
- Responses made by remote respondents in the other 'specify' category were recoded to the non-remote categories as applicable. However, due to all categories not being prompted for, some under reporting of categories not specifically listed may also have occurred. Respondents who identified seeing a mental health worker were coded as seeing an accredited counsellor.
- Consultations were recorded against the type of OHP involved, not the type of treatment provided at a particular consultation. For example, if a chiropractor performed physiotherapy, the consultation was recorded under chiropractor. If a practitioner was considered by the respondent to fit more than one of the types listed above, the visit has been recorded against that type of OHP most closely associated with the most recent consultation in the two week period.
- While it was recognised that all respondents may not understand the functions of all the other health professionals listed, it was considered that in most cases they could accurately identify the type of other health professional they had consulted.
- Responses to the question about reasons a respondent didn't go to the health professional require interpretation by respondents on a perceived 'need' to go to the service or health professional. Some respondents may have interpreted this as being a medical emergency, while others may have interpreted it to include routine check-ups.
- Respondents may have needed to go to the service or health professional. However, due to being unable to access the particular service or health professional, may have sought care elsewhere. Respondents may then have seen the need as not being relevant as they received attention and therefore respond in the negative to the question.
Data for common items are considered directly comparable between the 2004-05 NATSIHS and 2012-13 NATSIHS. The different collection methods between the non-remote and remote survey are consistent with the approach taken in 2004-05. It should be note that in 2012-13 there was an additional category of 'Trust in the other health professional' added to the reasons a respondent didn't go to another health professional when they should have.
Comparability with 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS)
These data are not collected in the 2008 NATSISS.
Comparability with 2011-12 National Health Survey (NHS)
Data for common items are considered directly comparable between the 2011-12 NHS and 2012-13 NATSIHS. It should be noted, the NHS question asks about other health professional consults in one multi response question along with other actions a respondent may have undertaken for their own health in the last 2 weeks. Additionally, the NHS prompt card given to the respondents to specify the other health professionals they have seen in the last 12 months contained a slightly different list of professionals, compared to the non-remote NATSIHS interview, as shown below:
- Diabetes Educator
- Accredited counsellor
- Chemist (for advice only)
- Occupational Therapist
- Social worker/Welfare Officer
Although these concepts should be the same the slight difference in the collection method may cause some bias to result in the responses, including possible under reporting of other health professionals not listed. Furthermore, as the NATSIHS remote interview has a greatly reduced list of other health professionals, similar limitations will arise for comparisons to NHS as there are with comparisons to the non-remote respondents of NATSIHS.