4839.0 - Patient Experiences in Australia: Summary of Findings, 2018-19 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 12/11/2019   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product

General Practitioners

More than eight in ten people (82.8% or 16.4 million) aged 15 years and over saw a General Practitioner (GP) in the last 12 months. This was a decrease of 1.8% since last year (84.3%).

The proportion of people who saw a GP varied by demographic and health characteristics:

  • Females (87.8%) were more likely to see a GP than males (77.6%).
  • People aged 65 years and over (94.9%) were more likely to see a GP than those aged 15-24 years (70.3%).
  • People who rated their health as fair or poor (96.5%) were more likely to see a GP than those who rated their health as excellent, very good or good (81.1%).
  • People with a long term health condition (94.4%) were more likely to see a GP than those without (71.2%).

See Tables 1, 2.1, 2.3 and 3.2 in Downloads.

Frequency of visits

Of people who needed to and saw a GP, one in nine (11.5%) visited a GP 12 or more times. The number of GP visits varied by demographic and health characteristics:
  • People aged 85 years and over (32.3%) were almost five times more likely to see a GP on 12 or more occasions than those aged 15 to 24 years (6.6%).
  • People who rated their health as fair or poor (40.6%) were more than six times more likely to see a GP on 12 or more occasions than those who rated their health as excellent, very good or good (6.2%).
  • People with a long term health condition (18.4%) were almost eight times more likely to see a GP on 12 or more occasions than those without (2.4%).

See Tables 5.3 and 6.2 in Downloads.

Waiting times

The proportion of people waiting longer than they felt acceptable for a GP appointment was 18.8%. This rate was similar to last year (19.2%).

Waiting times for people who needed to and saw a GP varied by demographic and geographic characteristics:
  • Females (20.9%) were more likely to report waiting longer than they felt acceptable than males (16.5%).
  • People aged 15 to 64 years (20.6%) were more likely to report waiting longer than they felt acceptable than those aged 65 years and over (12.7%).
  • People living in areas of most socio-economic disadvantage (21.1%) were more likely to report waiting longer than they felt acceptable than those living in areas of least disadvantage (15.7%).
  • People living in outer regional, remote or very remote areas (22.3%) were more likely to report waiting longer than they felt acceptable than those living in major cities (17.8%).

See Tables 4, 5.3 and 6.2 in Downloads.

One in twelve people (8.4%) saw a GP for urgent medical care. Of those who saw a GP for urgent medical care:
  • Three in five people (60.9%) were seen by a GP within four hours of making an appointment.
  • One in nine people (11.2%) waited four hours or more but were seen within 24 hours of making an appointment.
  • More than one quarter (27.7%) waited 24 hours or more.
  • These rates were consistent with last year (63.3%, 9.9% and 26.7% respectively).
  • People living in major cities (63.5%) were more likely to be seen within four hours than those living in inner regional areas (55.0%).

See Tables 1, 5.3 and 6.2 in Downloads.

Proportion of people 15 years and over, time between making appointment and seeing GP for most recent urgent medical care
Graph: Time series from 2017-18 to 2018-19 showing time between making an appointment and seeing GP for recent urgent medical care.
Source: Patient Experiences in Australia: Summary of Findings


Barriers

Of people who needed to see a GP, only 22.8% delayed seeing or did not see one at least once, the lowest rate in six years. This was a decrease of 16.5% since last year (27.3%). Of these people, only 3.4% delayed seeing or did not see a GP at least once due to cost.

The proportion of people who needed to see a GP, but delayed seeing or did not see one due to cost, varied by demographic, health and geographic characteristics:
  • Females (4.0%) were more likely to delay seeing or not see a GP due to cost than males (2.7%).
  • People aged 15 to 24 years (3.7%) were more likely to delay seeing or not see a GP due to cost than those aged 65 years and over (0.9%).
  • People with a long term health condition (4.5%) were more likely to delay seeing or not see a GP due to cost than those without (1.9%).
  • People living in outer regional, remote or very remote areas (4.2%) were more likely to delay seeing or not see a GP due to cost than those living in major cities (3.2%).

See Tables 4, 5.3 and 6.2 in Downloads.

After hours GP care

One in fourteen people (7.2%) saw an after hours GP, the lowest rate in six years.

The proportion of people who saw an after hours GP varied by demographic, health and geographic characteristics.
  • Females (8.6%) were more likely to see an after hours GP than males (5.8%).
  • People aged 15 to 64 years (8.0%) were twice as likely to see an after hours GP than those aged 65 years and over (3.9%).
  • People who rated their health as fair or poor (10.1%) were more likely to see an after hours GP than those who rated their health as excellent, very good or good (6.8%).
  • People with a long term health condition (9.0%) were more likely to see an after hours GP than those without (5.3%).
  • People living in major cities (8.0%) were twice as likely to see an after hours GP than those living in outer regional, remote or very remote areas (3.8%).

See Tables 1, 2.3 and 3.2 in Downloads.

One in five people (19.7%) who needed to see an after hours GP did not see one at all. This rate was similar to last year (18.7%).

Of those who needed to and saw an after hours GP:
  • The type of clinic most visited was a regular General Practice clinic (44.3%), followed by home visits (22.6%) and late night clinics (21.7%).
  • While the rate for visits to a regular General Practice clinic and late night clinics were similar to last year (40.8% and 18.5% respectively), the rate for home visits decreased by 18.1% since last year (27.6%).
  • 59.5% of people saw an after hours GP once, 30.2% saw an after hours GP two to three times, and 10.3% saw an after hours GP four or more times.

See Tables 7 and 8.2 in Downloads.

Proportion of people 15 years and over, type of clinic visited for most recent after hours GP services(a)
Graph: Time series from 2017-18 to 2018-19 showing the type of clinic visited for most recent after hours GP services.
Footnote: (a) After hours means before 8am or after 1pm on a Saturday, any time on a Sunday or Public Holiday, or before 8am or after 8pm on any other day.
Source: Patient Experiences in Australia: Summary of Findings


Prescribed medication

More than two thirds of people (67.4%) had received a prescription for medication from a GP. This was a decrease of 3.3% since last year (69.7%).

Of those who needed a prescription for medication:
  • One in fifteen people (6.7%) delayed getting or did not get prescribed medication due to cost.
  • People living in areas of most socio-economic disadvantage (9.7%) were more likely to delay getting or not get prescribed medication due to cost than those living in areas of least disadvantage (4.1%).

See Tables 1, 4 and 6.2 in Downloads.

Experience of GPs

Of those who saw a GP:
  • 74.8% reported that the GP always listened carefully to them.
  • 81.1% reported that the GP always showed them respect.
  • 75.7% reported that the GP always spent enough time with them.
  • These rates were consistent with last year (74.2%, 80.6% and 76.0% respectively).

Experience of GPs varied by demographic characteristics:
  • People aged 65 years and over (82.9%) were more likely to report that the GP always listened to them than people aged 15-64 years (72.5%).
  • People aged 65 years and over (87.0%) were more likely to report that the GP always showed them respect than people aged 15-64 years (79.4%).
  • People aged 65 years and over (83.6%) were more likely to report that the GP always spent enough time with them than people aged 15-64 years (73.5%).

See Table 5.3 in Downloads.