Measures reported from the ABS Patient Experience Survey
The report presents data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Patient Experience Survey, 2011–12 on the following measures:
- Adults who visited a hospital ED
- Adults who were admitted to hospital
- Waiting times for GP appointments
- Waiting times for medical specialists
- Cost barriers to GP care
- Cost barriers to seeing a medical specialist
- Cost barriers to filling a prescription.
The ABS Patient Experience Survey is conducted annually. Information in this report is from the collection period July 2011 to June 2012, collected from a representative sample of the Australian population about their experiences with the health system in the 12 months prior to interview. Of persons asked to participate in the survey, 26,437 (79.6%) fully responded to the Patient Experience Survey 2011–12.
The sample was designed to produce representative results for states and territories.
Data collection for the Patient Experience Survey 2011–12 predated the establishment of some Medicare Locals. Accordingly, for some Medicare Locals that have a population living in very remote parts of Australia or in discrete Indigenous communities, survey results are not available at a level of reliability equivalent to state and territory level estimates for the 2011–12 survey cycle reported elsewhere.
In 2012, the Authority commissioned the ABS to assign all respondent data to Medicare Local geography to produce survey results for each Medicare Local and peer group. The ABS Patient Experience Survey 2011–12 data have been weighted to meet independent population benchmarks for the civilian population aged 15 years and over living in private dwellings in each state and territory, at 31 March 2012.
In the weighting method final weights were compiled through a generalised regression process taking into account age group, sex, State by Capital City Statistical Division/Rest of State plus ACT and NT, as defined in the ABS Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC).
For the measure Waiting times for GP appointments, the question in the survey changed between 2010–11 and 2011–12 and therefore does not allow comparisons to be made for this measure over time.
Suppression of estimates
The Authority developed a suppression protocol to ensure robust reporting of these data at smaller areas of geography where small numbers require additional consideration of confidentiality and reliability. Data were suppressed based on the following rules:
- All point estimate percentages had confidence interval width less than 20 percentage points
- Point estimate percentages between 5% and 15% or between 85% and 95% were only included if their confidence interval width was less than 15 percentage points
- Point estimate percentages that were less than or equal to 5% or greater than or equal to 95% were included if the confidence interval width was less than 10 percentage points
In addition to these constraints, five Medicare Local catchments were identified as having a small sample and potentially less robust estimates. These were Far West NSW, Great South Coast (Vic), Lower Murray (Vic/ NSW), Central and North West Queensland and Kimberley-Pilbara(WA). Point estimate percentages were only included where the confidence interval width was less than 10 percentage points.
Further information on these indicators that have been reported in previous reports published by the Authority can be found in Healthy Communities: Australians’ experiences with access to health care in 2011–12, Technical Supplement and Healthy Communities: Australians’ experiences with primary health care in 2010–11, Technical Supplement (for waiting times for GP appointments).