Healthy Communities: Avoidable deaths and life expectancies in 2009–2011 - Media - Media release

Healthy Communities: Avoidable deaths and life expectancies in 2009–2011

Media release

EMBARGOED TO 1AM, THURSDAY 12 DECEMBER 2013

Deaths from treatable conditions nearly three times higher in some local areas

Australians are much more likely to die unnecessarily from treatable conditions depending on where they live – and there are big differences even within similar urban and rural areas, a new report shows.

More than 33,000 Australians die on average each year from avoidable causes, comprising two-thirds of all deaths before the age of 75. Almost 40% (12,858) of these avoidable deaths could have been stopped by better medical treatment.

But the new report released today shows that the rate of these so-called ‘treatable deaths’ ranges from 41 deaths per 100,000 people in Inner East Melbourne to 110 per 100,000 in Central and North West Queensland.

The new report, Healthy Communities: Avoidable deaths and life expectancies in 2009–2011, also shows there are differences between areas in rates of ‘treatable deaths’ that cannot be explained by people in those areas being older, poorer or more rural.

The report – the first breakdown of avoidable death rates and life expectancy estimates by local area – also finds:

  • Across metropolitan areas rates of ‘treatable deaths’ were 61% higher in the area with the highest rate compared to the area with the lowest (66 deaths per 100,000 people in Northern Adelaide to 41 deaths per 100,000 people in Inner East Melbourne)
  • Across regional areas rates of ‘treatable deaths’ were 44% higher in the area with the highest rate compared to the area with the lowest (72 deaths per 100,000 people in New England to 50 deaths per 100,000 people in Sunshine Coast)
  • Across rural areas rates of ‘treatable deaths’ were 83% higher in the area with the highest rate compared to the area with the lowest (110 deaths per 100,000 people in Central and North West Queensland to 60 deaths per 100,000 people in Lower Murray).

"The rate of avoidable deaths can be a strong reflection of how evenly the benefits of timely and effective health services are being shared across the country," Performance Authority CEO Dr Diane Watson said.

Causes of ‘treatable deaths’ include bowel cancer, skin cancer, heart disease and selected bacterial infections. The other component of avoidable deaths, called ‘preventable deaths’, includes lung cancer, suicide and alcohol-related disease.

The report also shows for the first time life expectancy at birth by local area. Findings show males can live up to 9.5 years longer in Sydney North Shore and Beaches compared to Central and North West Queensland. Females can live up to 7.7 years longer in Northern Sydney compared to Central and North West Queensland.

Avoidable death rates and life expectancies estimates are among some of the health system indicators the Council of Australian Governments has asked the Performance Authority to report on. In addition to this, information on the use of specialists, nurses and allied health professionals by Medicare Local catchment has also been published on the MyHealthyCommunities website today.

Unique profile graphics for each of the 61 Medicare Local catchments are also included in the report. The graphics show how each Medicare Local catchment fares on 18 measures of health service use, prevention, experiences and outcomes, allowing rapid understanding of each area’s best opportunities for improvements.

For more information or to download the report go to www.myhealthycommunities.gov.au.

Note to media

Key graphics in the report:

  1. Average number of treatable and preventable deaths by cause and sex (page 4)
  2. Potentially avoidable deaths (treatable and preventable) by Medicare Local catchment (page 7)
  3. Potentially avoidable deaths by Medicare Local catchment and sex (page 15)
  4. Life expectancy at birth by Medicare Local catchment and sex (page 17).

Profiles for each Medicare Local catchment are available in the report from page 23.

Medicare Local catchment areas are classified into peer groups based on similar geographic remoteness and socioeconomic status to ensure fair comparisons (Metro 1, Metro 2, Metro 3, Regional 1, Regional 2, Rural 1, Rural 2).

Table 1: Average number of potentially treatable and preventable deaths per year by cause and sex in Australia, 2009–2011

Males Females Persons
No. % No. % No. %
TREATABLE DEATHS
Ischaemic heart disease (I20–I25)* 2,086 30.0 630 10.7 2,715 21.1
Colorectal cancer (C18–C21) 1,193 17.1 778 13.2 1,971 15.3
Breast cancer (C50) NA NA 1,749 29.6 1,749 13.6
Cerebrovascular diseases (I60–I69)* 522 7.5 391 6.6 913 7.1
Melanoma of skin 573 8.2 264 4.5 837 6.5
Selected invasive bacterial and protozoal infections (A38–A41, A46, A48.1, B50–B54, G00, G03, J02.0, J13–J15, J18, L03) 396 5.7 291 4.9 687 5.3
Diabetes (E10–E14)* 389 5.6 233 3.9 622 4.8
Birth defects (H31.1, P00, P04, Q00–Q99) 319 4.6 266 4.5 585 4.5
Nephritis and nephrosis (I12, I13, N00–N07, N17–N19) 269 3.9 215 3.6 485 3.8
Bladder cancer (C67) 245 3.5 79 1.3 324 2.5
Complications of perinatal period (P03, P05–P95) 185 2.7 123 2.1 308 2.4
Epilepsy (G40, G41) 131 1.9 83 1.4 214 1.7
Uterus cancer (C54–C55) NA NA 193 3.3 193 1.5
Diseases of appendix, hernia, gallbladder, billary tract and pancreas (K35–K38, K40–K46, K80–K83, K85, K86) 111 1.6 77 1.3 188 1.5
Lymphoid leukaemia – acute/chronic (C91.0, C91.1) 118 1.7 59 1.0 178 1.4
Cervix cancer (C53) NA NA 166 2.8 166 1.3
Non–melanocytic skin cancer (C44) 120 1.7 32 0.5 152 1.2
Hypertensive heart diseas (I11) 75 1.1 40 0.7 115 0.9
Rheumatic and other valvular heart disease (I01–I09) 41 0.6 71 1.2 112 0.9
Peptic ulcer disease (K25–K28) 50 0.7 27 0.5 77 0.6
Other treatable 135 1.9 133 2.3 268 2.1
Total potentially treatable deaths 6,958 100 5,900 100 12,858 100
PREVENTABLE DEATHS
Lung cancer (C33–C34) 2,673 19.0 1,729 27.1 4,403 21.5
Ischaemic heart disease (I20–I25)* 2,086 14.8 630 9.9 2,715 13.3
Suicide and self–inflicted injuries (X60–X84, Y87.0) 1,937 13.8 630 9.9 2,567 12.6
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (J40–J44) 907 6.5 685 10.7 1,593 7.8
Road traffic injuries (V01–V04, V06, V09–V80, V87, V89, V99) 944 6.7 327 5.1 1,270 6.2
Alcohol–related diseases (F10, I42.6, K29.2, K70) 696 5.0 248 3.9 944 4.6
Accidental poisonings (X40–X49) 665 4.7 274 4.3 939 4.6
Cerebrovascular diseases (I60–I69)* 522 3.7 391 6.1 913 4.5
Liver cancer (C22) 593 4.2 206 3.2 798 3.9
Oesophagus cancer (C15) 548 3.9 136 2.1 684 3.3
Diabetes (E10–E14)* 389 2.8 233 3.6 622 3.0
Stomach cancer (C16) 385 2.7 173 2.7 558 2.7
Lip, oral cavity and pharynx cancer (C00–C14) 367 2.6 100 1.6 467 2.3
Aortic aneurysm (I71) 242 1.7 95 1.5 336 1.6
Falls (W00–W19) 232 1.7 84 1.3 316 1.5
Chronic liver disease (excl. alcohol–related disease; K73, K74) 169 1.2 70 1.1 238 1.2
Violence (X85–Y09, Y87.1) 151 1.1 73 1.1 224 1.1
Drownings (W65–W74) 137 1.0 37 0.6 174 0.9
Pulmonary embolism (I26) 71 0.5 67 1.0 138 0.7
Phlebitis and thrombophlebitis of other deep vessels of lower extremities (I80.2) 58 0.4 58 0.9 116 0.6
Other preventable 286 2.0 139 2.2 425 2.1
Total potentially preventable deaths 14,053 100 6,384 100 20,438 100
TOTAL POTENTIALLY AVOIDABLE DEATHS 21,011 NA 12,284 NA 33,295 NA

NA Not applicable.

* Deaths from ischaemic heart disease, cerebrovascular diseases and distributed equally between preventable and treatable cause of death.

Notes: Treatable deaths include all deaths which occurred between the ages of 0 and 74 years, except for deaths due to asthma which includes only those deaths which occurred between the ages of 0 and 44 years. Preventable deaths include all deaths which occurred between the ages of 0 and 74 years, except for deaths due to childhood vaccine–preventable diseases which include only those deaths which occurred between the ages of 0 and 14 years, and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease which includes only those deaths which occurred between the ages of 45 to 74 years.
Totals may not equal the sum of rows, due to separate rounding of data values.

Sources: Australian Bureau of Statistics Causes of Death 2009–2011.

For more information see this report’s Technical Supplement.

Table 2: Potentially avoidable deaths*, treatable and preventable, age–standardised, by Medicare Local catchment, 2009–2011

See the PDF ReportOpens in a new window. for a graphical representation of the table below.

Rates of potentially avoidable deaths per 100,000 people per year, age standardised Number of deaths per year
Medicare Local peer groups Treatable Preventable
Metro 1 46 69 4,189
Inner East Melbourne 41 55 623
Northern Sydney 44 53 384
Sydney North Shore & Beaches 42 55 434
Australian Capital Territory 46 73 390
Bayside§ 47 74 695
Eastern Sydney§ 49 81 442
Inner NW Melbourne 50 83 498
Inner West Sydney 55 85 724
Metro 2 53 82 7,712
South Eastern Sydney § 47 65 518
Perth North Metro § 48 74 569
Eastern Melbourne 49 73 497
Fremantle 45 80 283
Sthn Adelaide–Fleurieu–Kangaroo Is. 53 77 555
Perth Central & East Metro 50 83 577
Gold Coast § 53 86 743
Metro North Brisbane 55 84 1,142
Bentley–Armadale 57 88 520
Central Adelaide & Hills § 58 87 770
South Western Melbourne § 57 91 294
Greater Metro South Brisbane § 57 95 1,243
Metro 3 60 92 5,525
Northern Melbourne 54 82 776
Western Sydney 60 85 1,065
South Eastern Melbourne 57 91 608
Macedon Ranges & NW Melb 60 90 619
South Western Sydney § 61 93 1,226
Northern Adelaide § 66 104 661
West Moreton–Oxley 65 111 571
Regional 1 60 97 4,895
Sunshine Coast § 50 86 566
Nepean–Blue Mountains 60 91 506
Frankston–Mornington Peninsula § 60 95 470
Barwon § 59 98 461
Perth South Coastal 56 103 368
Illawarra–Shoalhaven 61 101 691
Hunter 66 98 1,235
Central Coast NSW 63 106 598
Regional 2 62 109 7,401
Great South Coast 57 92 165
South West WA 51 106 478
Country South SA 59 101 238
Hume 58 102 359
North Coast NSW 58 109 963
Southern NSW 66 101 382
Murrumbidgee 65 105 329
Loddon–Mallee–Murray 67 104 418
Tasmania 62 111 976
Wide Bay 61 113 443
Darling Downs–SW Qld 65 111 542
Grampians 68 112 412
Goulburn Valley 59 122 285
Gippsland § 66 116 539
New England 72 109 367
Western NSW § 65 120 505
Rural 1 71 117 1,670
Lower Murray 60 106 117
Townsville–Mackay 70 115 671
Country North SA 70 116 408
Central Qld 71 119 366
Far West NSW 97 158 108
Rural 2 87 156 1,587
Far North Qld § 79 138 548
Goldfields–Midwest 81 141 257
Northern Territory § 99 174 490
Kimberley–Pilbara § 105 189 177
Central & NW Qld 110 206 117
AUSTRALIA * 58 93 33,295

* Potentially avoidable deaths are deaths before the age of 75 that are preventable and/or treatable within Australian health and social systems.

Age standardised to the total Australian population as at 30 June 2001.

The number of deaths may vary across Medicare Local catchments with similar rates due to differences in the size of Medicare Local populations.

§ Due to separate rounding of data values, the total of treatable and preventable does not match the published value for potentially avoidable deaths.

# Australia total includes deaths not attributable to Medicare Local catchments where place of usual residence is unknown.

Sources: Australian Bureau of Statistics Causes of Death 2009–2011 and Australian Bureau of Statistics Estimated Resident Population 2009–2011.

Table 3: Potentially avoidable deaths* for, males and females, age–standardised, by Medicare Local catchment, 2009–2011

See the PDF ReportOpens in a new window. for a graphical representation of the table below.

Rates of potentially avoidable deaths per 100,000 people per year, age standardised
Medicare Local peer groups Males Females
Metro 1 147 85
Inner East Melbourne 122 72
Northern Sydney 121 73
Sydney North Shore & Beaches 114 81
Australian Capital Territory 143 95
Bayside 157 88
Eastern Sydney 163 96
Inner NW Melbourne 179 92
Inner West Sydney 183 98
Metro 2 172 99
South Eastern Sydney 144 81
Perth North Metro 153 91
Eastern Melbourne 150 95
Fremantle 162 89
Sthn Adelaide–Fleurieu–Kangaroo Is. 171 91
Perth Central & East Metro 171 95
Gold Coast 178 99
Metro North Brisbane 177 102
Bentley–Armadale 191 100
Central Adelaide & Hills 188 106
South Western Melbourne 177 118
Greater Metro South Brisbane 190 113
Metro 3 192 112
Northern Melbourne 176 98
Western Sydney 179 111
South Eastern Melbourne 191 105
Macedon Ranges & NW Melb 192 107
South Western Sydney 197 111
Northern Adelaide 210 133
West Moreton–Oxley 220 132
Regional 1 200 115
Sunshine Coast 176 96
Nepean–Blue Mountains 187 116
Frankston–Mornington Peninsula 193 118
Barwon 202 114
Perth South Coastal 203 115
Illawarra–Shoalhaven 202 123
Hunter 208 120
Central Coast NSW 224 117
Regional 2 218 124
Great South Coast 194 104
South West WA 208 104
Country South SA 208 110
Hume 202 119
North Coast NSW 216 119
Southern NSW 205 128
Murrumbidgee 216 122
Loddon–Mallee–Murray 215 126
Tasmania 214 132
Wide Bay 230 118
Darling Downs–SW Qld 229 123
Grampians 228 131
Goulburn Valley 229 132
Gippsland 231 131
New England 223 140
Western NSW 227 141
Rural 1 236 135
Lower Murray 228 103
Townsville–Mackay 228 138
Country North SA 230 138
Central Qld 238 138
Far West NSW 350 151
Rural 2 294 185
Far North Qld 268 161
Goldfields–Midwest 278 157
Northern Territory 327 211
Kimberley–Pilbara 321 259
Central & NW Qld 361 264
AUSTRALIA 192 110

* Potentially avoidable deaths are deaths before the age of 75 that are preventable and/or treatable within Australian health and social systems.

Age standardised to the total Australian population as at 30 June 2001.

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics Causes of Death 2009–2011 and Australian Bureau of Statistics Estimated Resident Population 2009–2011.

Table 4: Life expectancy at birth for males and females, by Medicare Local catchment, 2009–2011

See the PDF ReportOpens in a new window. for a graphical representation of the table below.

Medicare Local peer groups Males (years) Females (years)
Metro 1 81.7 85.5
Northern Sydney 83.0 86.2
Inner East Melbourne 83.1 86.1
Sydney North Shore & Beaches 83.2 85.9
Bayside 81.3 84.9
Eastern Sydney 81.1 85.0
Inner NW Melbourne 80.7 85.2
Australian Capital Territory 81.0 84.8
Inner West Sydney 80.3 85.3
Metro 2 80.6 84.9
South Eastern Sydney 82.1 85.7
Fremantle 81.3 85.2
Perth North Metro 81.1 85.4
Eastern Melbourne 81.3 85.0
Sthn Adelaide–Fleurieu–Kangaroo Is. 80.9 85.0
Gold Coast 80.4 85.2
Perth Central & East Metro 80.6 84.9
Bentley–Armadale 80.0 85.3
Metro North Brisbane 80.7 84.6
Greater Metro South Brisbane 80.3 84.4
South Western Melbourne 80.2 84.2
Central Adelaide & Hills 79.6 84.3
Metro 3 79.8 84.2
Northern Melbourne 80.5 84.5
Macedon Ranges & NW Melb 80.3 84.7
Western Sydney 80.6 84.4
South Eastern Melbourne 80.1 84.6
South Western Sydney 79.6 84.5
Northern Adelaide 79.5 82.8
West Moreton–Oxley 78.5 83.0
Regional 1 79.3 83.8
Sunshine Coast 80.1 85.1
Perth South Coastal 79.4 84.5
Nepean–Blue Mountains 79.6 83.9
Frankston–Mornington Peninsula 79.7 83.7
Barwon 79.4 83.6
Illawarra–Shoalhaven 79.7 83.1
Central Coast NSW 78.6 83.5
Hunter 78.7 83.3
Regional 2 78.4 83.4
South West WA 79.4 84.6
Country South SA 79.4 84.4
Hume 78.9 83.9
Great South Coast 79.2 83.5
Southern NSW 78.8 83.6
North Coast NSW 78.2 84.0
Murrumbidgee 78.6 83.6
Darling Downs–SW Qld 78.4 83.7
Loddon–Mallee–Murray 78.4 83.6
Wide Bay 78.1 83.7
Goulburn Valley 78.1 83.0
Gippsland 77.9 83.1
New England 78.0 82.9
Tasmania 78.3 82.5
Grampians 78.0 82.3
Western NSW 77.8 82.3
Rural 1 78.1 83.0
Lower Murray 78.3 84.0
Central Qld 78.5 82.9
Townsville–Mackay 78.4 82.9
Country North SA 78.0 82.9
Far West NSW 73.9 81.8
Rural 2 75.9 80.7
Goldfields–Midwest 77.0 82.2
Far North Qld 76.7 81.7
Kimberley–Pilbara 76.7 78.6
Northern Territory 74.9 80.5
Central & NW Qld 73.7 78.5
AUSTRALIA 79.7 84.2

Notes:

  • Life expectancy at birth is the number of years of life that a person is expected to live at the time they are born. The measure assumes the age– and sex–specific death rate that applied to the Medicare Local catchment when the person was born continues throughout their lifetime.
  • To calculate death rates for life expectancy at birth, deaths are attributed to the Medicare Local catchment in which a person usually resided, irrespective of where the person died.

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics Causes of Death 2009–2011 and Australian Bureau of Statistics Estimated Resident Population 2009–2011.