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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MEDIA RELEASE
15 November 2016
Embargoed: 11.30 am (Canberra time)
123/2016

Disadvantaged areas face cost barriers to health care


In 2015-16, more than a quarter (27 per cent) of people living in areas of greatest socio-economic disadvantage who needed to see a dental professional delayed or avoided visiting due to cost. This is compared to over 1 in 10 (11 percent) of people living in areas of least disadvantage.

This is just one of the findings illustrating the cost barriers that affect those living in areas of greatest socio-economic disadvantage, according to a new report released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

ABS Director of Health Statistics, Ms Louise Gates said those in areas of greatest disadvantage were twice as likely to delay or decide against filling a prescription due to cost, compared to those in areas of least disadvantage (10 per cent compared with 5 per cent).

"Similarly, 9 per cent of people living in areas of greatest disadvantage delayed or did not see a medical specialist due to cost, compared to 6 per cent of people in areas of least disadvantage," said Ms Gates.

"Only 34 per cent of people living in areas of greatest disadvantage had private health insurance, compared to 77 per cent of people living in areas of least disadvantage."

On the positive side, people continue to feel satisfied with the service provided by their GPs, with 80 per cent of patients reporting that their GP always showed them respect, and 76 per cent reporting they always spent enough time with them.

Patients were also reporting more acceptable GP waiting times in the last two years, with the proportion of people reporting waiting longer than they felt acceptable decreasing from 23 per cent in 2013-14 to 19 per cent in 2015-16. In particular, the proportion for people in outer regional, remote and very remote areas decreased by 9 percentage points between 2013-14 (29 per cent) and 2015-16 (20 per cent).

Further information can be found in Patient Experiences in Australia: Summary of Findings, 2015-16 (cat. no. 4839.0), available for free download from the ABS website, https://www.abs.gov.au.

Media Note

  • For this publication, areas of greatest disadvantage and least disadvantage are the lowest and highest of 5 possible classifications as defined using a socio-economic index for area (SEIFA), called the index of relative socio-economic disadvantage. The five area classifications for this index are derived using Census variables related to disadvantage such as low income, low educational attainment, unemployment, jobs in relatively unskilled occupations and dwellings without motor vehicles. SEIFA indexes provide a more general measure of socio-economic status than that given by one measure such as income or unemployment. For further information about SEIFA, please refer to the Explanatory Notes.
  • When reporting ABS data, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or ABS) must be attributed as the source.
  • For media requests and interviews, contact the ABS Communications Section on 1300 175 070 (8.30am - 5pm Mon-Fri).
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