Where people live makes a big difference to their access to and use of medical and dental services, and the areas where people have poorer average health are not receiving a larger share of these health care services.
This report looks at a number of aspects of Australians’ health and their use of health care services. It examines how many times people visit GPs, and whether they visit a dentist or other practitioner, whether they experience waiting times they believe to be excessive, and whether people find the costs of services hard to afford. It also examines the relationship between usage patterns and barriers to access, such as waiting times and higher costs, and regional variations in the distribution of healthier and less healthy populations. Findings indicate local area populations with poorer average health (and therefore greater average need for care) have similar cost barriers and waiting times to healthier Medicare Local populations whose need for health care is lower.
The report also finds:
- In 2011–12, the percentage of Australian adults who reported excellent, very good or good health varied across Medicare Local catchments nationally, ranging from 77% to 92%
- At the same time, the percentage of adults that reported they had a long-term health condition that lasted or was likely to last six months or more varied from 34% to 60%
- In 2011–12, the percentage of adults who reported seeing a GP in the preceding 12 months varied slightly across Medicare Local populations nationally, from 74% to 86%.