4363.0.55.001 - Australian Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2011-13  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/03/2013   
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Contents >> Health related actions >> Actions for specific long-term conditions



This topic refers to information collected about respondents' consultations with health professionals, use of medical facilities and time away from work or study/school, in relation to or as a result of specific long-term health conditions they may have. Questions were asked with reference to each long-term health condition a respondent reported.


Information was obtained for all persons in the NHS who reported having any of the following conditions:

  • asthma;
  • cancer;
  • heart or circulatory condition(s);
  • arthritis;
  • osteoporosis;
  • diabetes/high sugar levels;
  • kidney disease; or
  • a mental or behavioural condition.

The reported condition(s) must have been current at the time of the survey and diagnosed by a doctor or nurse (that is, the respondent answered 'yes' to the question whether they had ever been told by a doctor or nurse that they had the specific condition). These conditions are referred to as having a condition status of 1 in the survey. An exception to the requirement of a condition status of 1 has been made for asthma cases where, although the respondent has reported it as a not a current condition, the respondent has either had symptoms/treatment in the last 12 months or answered 'yes' to whether they still get asthma.


For each condition group that respondents reported having, they were asked whether, they had taken any of following actions in the last 2 weeks:
  • consulted a General Practitioner (GP);
  • consulted a specialist;
  • consulted other health professional;
  • admitted to hospital as an inpatient;
  • visited an outpatient clinic;
  • visited emergency/casualty; or
  • visited a day clinic.

More than one response was allowed.

If respondents had not consulted a GP in the last 2 weeks they were asked whether they had consulted a GP in the last 12 months. Similarly, respondents who had not consulted a specialist in the last 2 weeks were asked whether they had done so in the last 12 months.

Respondents were then asked whether they had, excluding any time spent in hospital, consulted any of the following health professionals for their condition in the last 12 months:
  • diabetes educator;
  • accredited counsellor;
  • acupuncturist;
  • chemist (for advice only);
  • chiropodist/podiatrist;
  • chiropractor;
  • dietician/nutritionist;
  • naturopath;
  • nurse;
  • occupational therapist;
  • optician/optometrist;
  • osteopath;
  • physiotherapist/hydrotherapist;
  • psychologist;
  • social worker/welfare officer; and/or
  • other.

More than one response was allowed.

Respondents who were working studying or at school were asked whether they had stayed away from work or study/school for more than half a day in the last 12 months because of their long-term health condition. If so, they were asked the number of days they stayed away. In cases where a respondent identified that they were working or studying/at school, they were asked for each.

Data items

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.
  • Actions questions were only asked once per condition group. Therefore, in cases where the respondent had more than one type of condition within the condition group (for example, reporting having had both a heart attack and high blood pressure), the Actions questions referred to both conditions in each question.
  • Some respondents who had a condition in the relevant condition groups did not get asked the Actions questions asked for that condition group due to their reporting the condition in the general long-term conditions module rather than in the module designed for that condition. Therefore, the total number of people with the condition will not necessarily equal the total from first results.
  • Information on consultations with health professionals is essentially 'as reported' by respondents. In some cases, respondents may have reported consultations with health professionals other than GPs or specialists because they considered them to be GPs or specialists. Conversely, some consultations reported as being with other health professionals may have been reported as being with a GP or specialist (regardless of the type of treatment/service provided at the consultation).
  • While efforts were made in the survey questionnaire to ensure only illness or injury-related days away from work and/or study/school were recorded, and only days for which more than half a day's absence was involved, some mis-reporting may have occurred.
  • Questions about days away from work were not asked in terms of a particular job. For persons with more than one job, the days away from work may not necessarily relate to the respondent's main job. While the effect of this is expected to be minor, it should be considered when, for example, analysing information on days away from work against reported occupation or industry of main job.
  • Respondents may have had days away because of more than one condition at the same time, therefore number of days away for different conditions cannot be added together for total number of days away.

Comparability with 2007-08

Similar questions were built into the specific health condition modules in the 2007-08 NHS, allowing some comparisons to be made.

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