4839.0 - Patient Experiences in Australia: Summary of Findings, 2015-16 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/11/2016   
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HOSPITAL ADMISSIONS, EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT VISITS AND PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE

People access hospitals and emergency departments to diagnose and treat serious illness or injury. Information on levels of access is useful in determining service provision. In 2015-16, approximately 2.4 million people (13%) aged 15 years and over were admitted to hospital in the previous 12 months and 2.5 million (14%) had visited an emergency department (ED) for their own health. The proportion of people who had visited an ED or been admitted to hospital has remained steady across the seven cycles of the survey (2009 to 2015-16). See Tables 1, 2.1 and 2.2 in Downloads.

ADMISSIONS TO HOSPITAL

The graph below shows admissions to hospital in the previous 12 months by age and sex. Overall, females were more likely than males to have been admitted to hospital (15% compared with 10%). This difference is particularly evident in the child bearing age group of 15-44 years where females were more than twice as likely as males to have been admitted to hospital (15% compared with 6%). However, after the age of 55, males and females were admitted at similar rates (18%). See Table 2.2 in Downloads.

The proportion of people who had been admitted to hospital generally increased with age, with one in twelve people (8%) aged 15-24 being admitted to hospital compared with one in four (27%) people aged 85 years and over. See Table 2.2 in Downloads.

Graph Image for Proportion of persons 15 years and over, admitted to hospital in the previous 12 months

Source(s): Patient Experience Survey: Summary of Findings



People living in areas of most socio-economic disadvantage were more likely to be admitted to hospital compared with those living in areas of least disadvantage (14% compared with 11%). See Table 3.2 in Downloads.

Hospital admission is also related to health characteristics, with those having a long term health condition more likely to have been admitted to hospital than those without (18% compared with 7%). Likewise, those who rated their health as fair or poor were more likely to be admitted to hospital than those who rated their health as excellent, very good, or good (27% compared with 11%). See Table 3.2 in Downloads.

Of those who were admitted to hospital in the previous 12 months, 75% were admitted only once, 21% were admitted two or three times and 5% were admitted four or more times. See Table 16 in Downloads.

VISITS TO THE EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT

The graph below shows visits to the ED in the previous 12 months by age and sex. Both males and females visited the ED at similar rates (13% and 14% respectively). People in the older age groups were most likely to visit the ED, with 19% of persons aged 75 to 84 years and 20% of those aged 85 years and over visiting, compared with 13% of those aged 15 to 74 years. See Table 2.2 in Downloads.

Graph Image for Proportion of persons 15 years and over, visited a hospital emergency department in the previous 12 months

Source(s): Patient Experience Survey: Summary of Findings



People living in areas of most socio-economic disadvantage were more likely to visit the ED compared with those living in areas of least disadvantage (17% compared with 11%). In addition, those living in outer regional, remote and very remote areas were more likely to visit the ED compared with those living in major cities (16% compared with 12%). See Table 3.2 in Downloads.

As with hospital admissions, visits to the ED are also related to health characteristics, with those having a long term health condition more likely to have visited the ED than those without (19% compared with 8%). See Table 3.2 in Downloads.

When people who visited the ED were asked the main reason they went to an ED instead of a GP, just under half (44%) reported that they were taken by ambulance. Around 23% of people said a GP was not available when required, 10% of people said they were sent by a GP. People living in outer regional, remote and very remote areas were more likely to report a GP was not available when required compared with those living in major cities (33% compared with 18%). Of those who went to the ED for their own health in the previous 12 months, 18% thought care could have been provided by a general practitioner. This was the same rate as 2014-15. See Tables 20.2 and 21.2 in Downloads.

EXPERIENCE WITH HOSPITAL AND EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT DOCTORS AND NURSES

The way that a patient is treated by a health professional is an important aspect of their satisfaction with their care. All respondents who had seen a hospital or ED doctor or nurse were asked for their perceptions on how they were treated by the doctor or nurse they had seen.

Of those who went to an ED, 75% reported that the ED nurses always listened carefully to them, 77% reported they always showed them respect and 72% reported they always spent enough time with them. The results were slightly lower for ED doctors and specialists, with 70% reporting that ED doctors and specialists always listened carefully, 73% reporting they always showed respect and 68% reporting they always spent enough time with them. See Table 21.2 in Downloads.

PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE

Over half of all people (57%) aged 15 years and over have some form of private health insurance. Almost one in two (48%) people aged 15 years and over have both hospital and extras cover, 6% have hospital cover only, 4% have extras cover only, while 43% of people do not have any type of private health insurance. Males were less likely to have any form of private health cover compared with females (56% compared with 59%). See Table 2.2 in Downloads.

The proportion of people who have some form of private health insurance has increased from 55% in 2012-13 to 57% in 2015-16. See Table 1 in Downloads.

Of those who rated their health as fair or poor, 41% had some form of private health insurance whereas the proportion was 60% for those who rated their health as good, very good or excellent. See Table 3.2 in Downloads.

Those with long term health conditions were also less likely to have private health cover than those without (56% compared with 59%). See Table 3.2 in Downloads.

People living in major cities of Australia were more likely to have some form of private health insurance than those living in outer regional, remote or very remote areas of Australia (61% compared with 48%). See Table 3.2 in Downloads.

People living in areas of least socio-economic disadvantage were more likely to have private health cover compared with those living in areas of most disadvantage (77% compared with 34%). See Table 3.2 in Downloads.

Graph Image for Proportion of persons 15 years and over, had private health insurance in the previous 12 months(a)

Footnote(s): (a) 2011 Socio-Economic Disadvantage. A lower Index of Disadvantage quintile (e.g. the first quintile) indicates an area with relatively greater disadvantage and a lack of advantage in general. A higher Index of Disadvantage (e.g. the fifth quintile) indicates an area with a relative lack of disadvantage and greater advantage in general

Source(s): Patient Experience Survey: Summary of Findings