Rural and remote avoidable deaths are three times higher

The report, Healthy Communities: Avoidable deaths and life expectancies in 2009-2011, released today by the National Health Performance Authority (NHPA), showed more than 33,000 Australians died prematurely per year from causes that were either preventable or treatable.

People living in the Central and North West Queensland Medicare Local were more than three times as likely to die of an avoidable cause, at a rate of 316 deaths per 100,000, than those living in the Inner East Melbourne Medicare Local, where the rate was 96 per 100,000.

Potentially treatable deaths, which might have been avoided through better medical services, were also highest in Central and North West Queensland, at 110 per 100,000, nearly three times higher than the 41 per 100,000 in Inner East Melbourne.

NHPA CEO Dr Diane Watson said the rate of avoidable deaths could be a strong reflection of how evenly the benefits of timely and effective health services were being shared