4839.0 - Patient Experiences in Australia: Summary of Findings, 2017-18 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 13/11/2018   
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After hours GP

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.

At least once delayed seeing or did not see .... when needed - cost a reason

To be placed in this category, respondents must have stated that cost was one of the reasons they delayed going or did not go to see a health professional when needed.

Dental professional

Includes dentists, dental hygienists and dental specialists such as periodontists, orthodontists, and oral and maxillofacial surgeons.

Full-time status of work

Full-time work is 35 hours or more per week. The number of hours can be calculated based on the number usually worked or the number actually worked during the week before interview.

Hospital admission

The formal acceptance by a hospital or other in-patient health care facility of a patient who is to be provided with a room and continuous nursing service. This includes respondents who have been to a hospital emergency department and have also been admitted to hospital.

Hospital emergency department visit

Any time a person went to an emergency department for their own health, whether it was within normal GP practising hours or after hours.

Imaging test

Imaging tests or diagnostic imaging include all tests that produce images or pictures of the inside of the body in order to diagnose diseases. Tests involve the use of radiant energy, including x-rays, sound waves, radio waves, and radioactive waves and particles that are recorded by photographic films or other types of detectors.

Index of Relative Socio-economic Disadvantage

This is one of four Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFAs) compiled by the ABS following each Census of Population and Housing. This index summarises attributes such as low income, low educational attainment, unemployment, jobs in relatively unskilled occupations and dwellings without motor vehicles. The first or lowest quintile refers to the most disadvantaged areas, while the fifth or highest quintile refers to the least disadvantaged areas.

Long term health condition

A condition that has lasted or is likely to last six months or more. Respondents were specifically asked whether they had any of the following conditions:

    arthritis or osteoporosis;
    a heart or circulatory condition;
    a mental health condition, including depression or anxiety;
    a long term injury; or
    any other long term health condition.

If respondents sought clarification, interviewers were instructed to include:
    conditions currently controlled by medication;
    cancer where the respondent reports having cancer without any explanation;
    cancer where the respondent was undergoing treatment such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy;
    cancer in partial remission;
    mental illness where the respondent was not currently experiencing an episode;

and to exclude pregnancy, and cancer where the respondent received a false positive test result.

Medical specialist

If respondents sought clarification on the definition of medical specialist, interviewers were instructed to advise that medical specialists provide services which are covered, at least in part, by Medicare (e.g. dermatologists, cardiologists, neurologists and gynaecologists).


In the data presented in this publication, populations are sometimes based on those who needed to use a service. In most cases, this population is a combination of those who used the service and those who didn't but said they needed to use the service.

Part-time status of work

Part-time work is less than 35 hours per week. The number of hours can be calculated based on the amount usually worked or the number actually worked during the week before interview.

Pathology test

A laboratory test that includes analysis of specimens such as urine and blood in order to diagnose disease.

Personal income

This relates to gross income.

Private health insurance

Refers to voluntary coverage through a private insurer (e.g. Medibank Private, HCF and Bupa). Depending on the type of cover purchased, private health insurance provides cover against all or part of hospital theatre and accommodation costs in either a public or private hospital, medical costs in hospital and costs associated with a range of services not covered under Medicare, including private dental services, optical, chiropractic and physiotherapy.

Public dental care

Any public dental service that is partly or fully funded by the government, including public dental services provided at a private dental clinic.


The Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) is used by the ABS for the collection and dissemination of geographically classified statistics. The classification includes a Remoteness Structure which divides Australia into six broad regions called Remoteness Areas. The purpose of the Remoteness Structure is to provide a classification for the release of statistics that inform policy development by classifying Australia into large regions that share common characteristics of remoteness, based on physical distance from services.

Self-assessed health

A person's impression of their own health against a five point scale from excellent through to poor.

Statistical significance

Differences between population estimates are said to be statistically significant when it can be stated with 95% confidence that there is a real difference between the populations (see the Significance Testing section of the Technical Note for more information).