4363.0 - National Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2014-15  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 31/07/2017   
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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 priority, targeted long-term health condition a respondent reported.


Information about this topic was collected in the Actions module. This module is similar to the Health Service Use module, except that it collects information in relation to each priority, targeted condition reported by the respondent.

The Actions module is a generic set of questions which was asked of all persons in the 2014-15 NHS who had any diagnosed, long-term and current conditions within the following priority, targeted condition groups. 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, the respondent has reported it as NOT a current condition, BUT has either had symptoms/treatment in the last 12 months or answered 'yes' to whether they still get asthma. Similarly, an exception has been made for diabetes where respondents were sequenced through to the Actions module even if the respondent did not report it as a current condition.

  • Asthma
  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Heart and circulatory conditions
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Kidney disease
  • Osteoporosis
  • Mental, behavioural and cognitive conditions.

The Actions module was not asked for Sight and Hearing conditions, Gout and Rheumatism, or other conditions collected in the Long Term Conditions (Other) module.


Information about actions for priority, targeted long-term conditions was published in the Health Service Usage and Health related Actions, Australia, 2014-15.

For each condition group reported (see above), respondents were asked whether they had taken any of following actions in the last 2 weeks (shown on a prompt card):
  • Consulted a General Practitioner (GP)
  • Consulted a Specialist
  • Consulted a Dentist;
  • Consulted other health professional
  • Admitted to hospital as an inpatient
  • Visited an outpatient clinic
  • Visited emergency/casualty
  • Visited a day clinic.

More than one response was allowed.

Respondents who had not consulted a GP and/or Specialist in the last 2 weeks were asked whether they had consulted a GP and/or Specialist in the last 12 months.

They were also asked how many times they had consulted a GP or specialist in the last 2 weeks or 12 months (as applicable).

Respondents were then asked, excluding any time spent in hospital, whether they had consulted any of the following health professionals for their condition in the last 12 months (shown on a prompt card):
  • Aboriginal health worker
  • Accredited counsellor
  • Acupuncturist
  • Alcohol and drug worker
  • Audiologist/Audiometrist
  • Chemist/Pharmacist (for advice only);
  • Chiropodist/Podiatrist
  • Chiropractor
  • Diabetes Educator
  • Dietician/Nutritionist
  • Naturopath
  • Herbalist
  • Hypnotherapist
  • Nurse
  • Occupational therapist
  • Optician/Optometrist/Orthoptist;
  • Orthotist/Prosthetist;
  • Osteopath
  • Physiotherapist/Hydrotherapist
  • Psychologist
  • Radiographer
  • Social worker/Welfare officer
  • Sonographer
  • speech therapist/Pathologist
  • 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. Respondents who identified they were working and/or studying/at school were asked separately about days away from work or study/school.

Respondents with more than one condition within a group were only asked the Actions questions once for that group. For example, a person with a heart condition and two types of cancer answered the Actions module once in relation to their heart condition and once in relation to their cancer.

If a priority, targeted condition group was reported in the Long-Term Conditions (Other) module but not reported in the actual module (e.g. Asthma was reported in the Long-Term Conditions (Other) module rather than in the Asthma module), the Actions module was invoked for each ‘new’ priority, targeted condition group reported.

Data Items

The questionnaire, data items and related output categories for this topic are available in pdf/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.
  • Information on consultations with health professionals is 'as reported' by respondents. In some cases, respondents may have been unaware of the type of health professional that they were consulting and therefore inadvertently misclassified them.
  • 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 total number of days away should be sourced from the Health Service Use module.

Comparability with 2011-12

Actions data are considered directly comparable between the 2014-15 and 2011-12 NHS.

The following changes were made to the Actions module in the 2014-15 NHS which should be considered when comparing the data:
  • In 2014-15, consultations with a dentist was added to the 'Actions taken for priority, targeted condition group in the last 2 weeks' question. Consultations with dentists were not collected separately in the 2011-12 NHS and is therefore not directly comparable as an individual category.
  • In 2014-15, the following additional response options were added to the 'Whether consulted OHP for priority, targeted condition group in last 12 months'/'Which other health professional consulted for priority, targeted condition group in last 12 months' questions:
  • Aboriginal health worker
  • Alcohol and drug worker
  • Audiologist/Audiometrist
  • Pharmacist (for advice only)
  • Herbalist
  • Hypnotherapist
  • Orthoptist
  • Orthotist/Prosthetist
  • Radiographer
  • Sonographer
  • Speech therapist/Pathologist
These would have previously been collected under the 'other' category and are therefore not directly comparable as individual categories.
  • New questions were added in 2014-15 to collect information about the number of times the respondent consulted a GP and/or Specialist for the priority, targeted condition group in the last 2 weeks.