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 >> Children's use of health services >> Children's visits to general practitioners after hours


In the 12 months before the survey, approximately one-sixth of Australian households with children aged under 15 needed to see a GP after hours for at least one child in the household (17% or 384,900 households). Of these households, 22% had two or more children that needed to see a GP after hours.

Figure 7.3 shows rates of seeing a GP after hours were highest in SA and lowest in NSW at 23% and 15% respectively.

7.3 Child saw a GP after hours in last 12 months (a), by State/Territory

(See Table 7.2 for more detail)

Nationally, most visits were at an after hours clinic at a hospital (36%), followed by regular general practices (26%) and late night clinics (24%). This was particularly the case in WA, where more than half the visits were at an after hours clinic at a hospital, and less than ten percent were at a regular general practice. In Victoria, most after hours visits occurred at regular general practices.

More children in disadvantaged households had seen a GP in an after hours clinic at a hospital (46% and 54% of households in the two most disadvantaged quintiles, compared with 17% of households in the least disadvantaged quintile). Children from households in the least disadvantaged areas were most likely to have seen a GP at a regular general practice or a late night clinic.

Households in outer regional and remote areas of Australia were more likely to have used GP services for their children in after hours clinics at hospitals than other after hours services - 68% of visits compared with 28% reported for major cities, shown here in Figure 7.4.

7.4 Type of service used for after hours GP visits (a), by Remoteness

(See Table 7.1 for more detail)

Unable to see a GP after hours

Nationally, about 1 in 20 households with children under 15 had at least one child who had not been able to see a GP after hours when they needed to in the last 12 months (5% or 108,900 households). The primary reason for this reported by households was that there had been no service available in the area at the time it was needed (64%). This was particularly the case in NSW, where 83% of households reported it as their main reason.

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