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One in five people delayed or did not go to a dentist due to cost
Almost one in five (18 per cent) Australians aged 15 and over who needed to see a dental professional had delayed seeing or had not seen a dentist due to cost. The figures increase to over one quarter (27 per cent) of Australians in the age group of 25 to 34 years, according to new figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
ABS Director of Health Statistics, Ms Louise Gates, said "This survey collected information on access and barriers to a range of health care services including general practitioners (GP), dental professionals and medical specialists".
Visits to dental professionals
Just under half (49 per cent) of all Australians aged 15 and over had visited a dental professional in the last 12 months. Of these people, just over half (57 per cent) had been two or more times.
"People living in areas of greatest socio-economic disadvantage were twice as likely to delay going or not go to a dental professional due to cost, compared with people living in areas of least socio-economic disadvantage (24 per cent compared with 12 per cent),
"People living in outer regional, remote or very remote areas of Australia were also more likely to delay going or not go to a dental professional due to cost (21 per cent) compared with those living in major cities of Australia (17 per cent), " said Ms Gates.
Visits to GPs
Around 14.9 million people aged 15 years and over, (81 per cent) visited a GP at least once in the previous 12 months.
Of those who needed to see a GP in the previous 12 months, 20 per cent had waited longer than they felt was acceptable to get an appointment. People aged 65 years and over reported the smallest proportion of people waiting longer than they felt acceptable at 12 per cent.
Visits to the Emergency Department (ED)
Around 2.5 million people aged 15 years and over (14 per cent) visited the ED at least once in the previous 12 months. Those living in outer regional, remote and very remote areas of Australia were more likely to visit the ED compared with those living in major cities (17 per cent compared with 12 per cent).
Ms Gates said, "At the time of their most recent visit to the ED, almost 1 in 4 (23 per cent) thought that the care they needed could have been provided by a GP".
Further information can be found in Patient Experiences in Australia: Summary of Findings, 2012-13 (cat. no. 4839.0) available for free download from the ABS website (www.abs.gov.au).
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