Updated local-level information is available for 15 measures of health care use across Australia for 2016–17. Results are presented for the 31 Primary Health Network (PHN) areas and smaller local areas called Statistical Areas Level 3 (SA3).
These measures include the number of GP, after-hours GP, specialist and aged-care home attendances per person. They also include the percentage of bulk-billed GP attendances, the percentage of people in local areas who did not claim a GP attendance within the year, and expenditure by Medicare on GP attendances and specialist attendances. Age and sex disaggregated data is also available for the number of GP, after-hours GP and specialist attendances per person in the accompanying excel file.
The findings are based on the Department of Health Medicare Benefits Schedule claims data for 2016–17. This new information provides a seventh year of results at the national level and for SA3s, while four years of results are available for PHN areas.
The data reveal that in 2016–17:
- Nationally, there were 6.1 GP attendances per person, increasing steadily from 5.4 per person in 2010–11.
- Across PHN areas, people living in the Northern Territory saw a GP 4.4 times per person, compared with 7.7 times per person in South Western Sydney.
- Nationally, 85.7% of GP attendances were bulk billed, ranging from 61.9% in the Australian Capital Territory PHN area to 96.5% in the Western Sydney PHN area.
- There were 0.49 after-hours GP attendances per person nationally, increasing each year from 0.31 per person in 2010–11.
- Across PHN areas, after-hours GP attendances ranged from 0.18 attendances per person in Country WA, Gippsland (Vic) and Western NSW, to 0.86 times per person in Western Sydney.
- Nationally, there were 0.95 specialist attendances per person, steadily increasing from 0.84 per person in 2010–11.
- Across PHN areas, people in the Northern Territory saw a specialist 0.32 times per person, compared with 1.27 times per person in Northern Sydney.
- The amount spent by Medicare on specialist attendances ranged from $25 per person in the Northern Territory PHN area to $119 per person in the Northern Sydney PHN area.
In 2016–17, people living in Northern Sydney PHN area saw a specialist 4 times more than people living in Northern Territory PHN area:
- Northern Sydney: 1.27 visits per person
- National: 0.95 visits per person
- Northern Territory: 0.32 visits per person