Cost and access keeping patients from GP visit

OVER one million Australians are putting off seeing a GP, while the same number have postponed buying prescribed medication because they can not meet the costs, new research from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has revealed.

Some 937,800 people who responded to the ABS’s 2009 Patient Experience Survey also reported times when they could not access health services, including 82% who could not see a GP when they needed one.

The report also indicated 47% of those who could not access health services found “waiting times were too long or no appointment was available”, while 34% reported no service was available in the area at the time.

Of the 2.3 million who reported having visited hospital emergency departments (ED) in the year before the survey, a quarter considered that the same care for their condition could have been provided by a GP. Ten per cent of those in outer regional and remote areas who had attended an ED had done