4364.0.55.002 - Health Service Usage and Health Related Actions, Australia, 2014-15  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/03/2017   
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Consultations with health professionals

  • In 2014-15, around 21.0 million people (91.5%) had consulted at least one health professional in the last 12 months.
  • Older Australians were more likely than younger Australians to consult health professionals. Almost all people aged 65 years or over (96.2%) had consulted a GP in the last 12 months, compared with around 8 in 10 people aged 15-24 years (78.1%).
  • The most common lifestyle issues discussed with GPs, by those aged 15 years and over, were 'reaching a healthy weight' (13.6%), 'eating healthy food or improving diet' (11.2%) and 'increasing physical activity' (9.5%).

Use of medical facilities
  • In 2014-15, around 5.6 million Australians (24.6%) had attended a medical facility for their own health within the last 12 months (either admitted to hospital as an inpatient, visited an outpatient clinic, emergency/casualty department and/or day clinic).
  • Just over 1 in 10 people visited an emergency department at a hospital (12.0% or 2.8 million people), while just over 1 in 10 had been admitted to hospital as an inpatient (11.4% or 2.6 million). Less than 1 in 10 people had visited outpatient clinics (7.5%) or day clinics (5.4%).
  • In 2014-15, adults who were overweight or obese were more likely than those who were not overweight to use a medical facility (32.2% of obese people and 25.9% of overweight people, compared with 22.6% of people who were not overweight).

Days off work or study/school
  • In 2014-15, around 16.0 million Australians were employed or at school/studying. Of these people:
    • around 1 in 7 (or 15.0%) had taken time away from work or school/study in the last two weeks due to their own illness or injury; and
    • around 1 in 20 (or 4.5%) had taken time off in the last two weeks to care for someone else.

Private health insurance
  • In 2014-15 there were 10.1 million Australian adults with private health insurance (57.1%). This was the same rate as in 2011-12, but an increase from 2007-08 (52.7%).
  • Levels of private health insurance membership varied by age, with people aged 55-64 years having the highest coverage (64.4%). Around half of those aged 18-24 years (49.2%) and those aged 25-34 years (51.7%) had private health insurance.
  • In 2014-15, the most common reasons for not having private health insurance were 'cannot afford it/too expensive' (60.9%) and 'Medicare cover sufficient' (29.1%).

  • Excluding the use of medications or supplements, the most common action people with arthritis took in the last 2 weeks was exercising most days (24.6%).
  • In 2014-15, Just over 1 in 4 people with asthma (28.1%) had a written asthma action plan. Of children aged between 0 and 14 years with asthma in 2014-15, 57.3% had a written asthma plan, an increase since 2011-12 (40.9%).
  • In 2014-15, three-quarters (73.6%) of all people with diabetes had had an HbA1C test in the last 12 months.
  • Almost all people aged 18 years and over with a disease of the circulatory system had had their blood pressure checked in the last 12 months (90.1%) and three quarters (75.6%) had had their cholesterol checked in the last 12 months.
  • In 2014-15, 2.9 million Australians aged 18 years or over whose blood pressure was high or very high, did not report (and therefore who may have been unaware) that they had high blood pressure.
  • In 2014-15, nearly one-third (29.8%) of people reporting a mental and behavioural condition reported taking antidepressants for their condition within the last two weeks.
  • In 2014-15, 82.7% of people with osteoporosis had had their bone density tested at some stage, an increase from 73.7% in 2007-08.
  • Of all people with kidney disease, around 1 in 10 (10.0%) had ever had dialysis.

Cancer testing
  • In 2014-15, 8.1 million Australian adults (45.7%) had been tested for cancer in the last two years. This has increased from 38.5% in 2011-12.
  • The proportion of Australian adults who had ever been tested for cancer increased from 54.7% in 2011-12 to 61.6% in 2014-15.
  • In 2014-15, of all persons aged 50 years and over, 84.3% (6.3 million persons) had ever been tested for cancer and 62.9% in the 2 years prior to the survey. This has increased since 2011-12 (73.9% and 52.8% respectively).
  • For females aged 50 years and over, breast cancer testing rates increased from 64.4% to 77.1% between 2011-12 and 2014-15, cervical cancer from 59.5% to 70.5% and bowel cancer testing rates almost doubled from 27.3% to 49.1%.
  • Similarly, for men over the age of 50, prostate cancer testing rates increased from 48.4% to 58.2% in the same time period, while bowel cancer testing rates had increased from 33.6% to 54.8%.