4839.0 - Patient Experiences in Australia: Summary of Findings, 2017-18 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 13/11/2018   
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HOSPITAL ADMISSIONS, EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT VISITS AND PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE

People access hospitals and emergency departments to diagnose and treat serious illness or injury. Information on levels of access is useful in determining service provision. In 2017-18, approximately 2.4 million people (13%) aged 15 years and over were admitted to hospital in the last 12 months and 2.8 million people (14%) visited an emergency department (ED) for their own health. The proportion of people who had been admitted to hospital or visited an ED has remained steady since 2009. See Tables 1, 2.1 and 2.3 in Downloads.

ADMISSIONS TO HOSPITAL





The graph below shows admissions to hospital in the last 12 months by age and sex. Overall, females were more likely than males to have been admitted to hospital (15% compared with 10%). This difference is particularly evident in the child bearing age group of 15 to 44 years where females were more than twice as likely as males to have been admitted to hospital (14% compared with 6%). See Table 2.3 in Downloads.

The proportion of people who had been admitted to hospital generally increased with age, with one in fourteen people (7%) aged 15 to 24 years being admitted to hospital compared with one in five people (20%) aged 65 years and over. The proportion of persons aged 85 years and over who had been admitted to hospital decreased between 2016-17 and 2017-18 from 31% to 24%. See Table 2.3 in Downloads.

Graph Image for Proportion of persons 15 years and over, admitted to hospital in the last 12 months

Source(s): Patient Experience Survey: Summary of Findings


Hospital admission is also related to health characteristics, with those who rated their health as fair or poor more than twice as likely to have been admitted to hospital than those who rated their health as excellent, very good or good (26% compared with 11%). Likewise, those with a long term health condition were more than twice as likely to have been admitted to hospital than those without (18% compared with 7%). See Table 3.2 in Downloads.

Of those who were admitted to hospital in the last 12 months, 72% were admitted only once, 23% were admitted two or three times and 5% were admitted four or more times. See Tables 16 and 17.2 in Downloads.

VISITS TO THE EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT

The graph below shows visits to the ED in the last 12 months by age and sex. Females were more likely to visit the ED than males (16% compared with 13%). People in the older age groups were most likely to visit the ED, with 17% of people aged 75 to 84 years and 22% of those aged 85 years and over visiting, compared with 14% of those aged 15 to 74 years. See Tables 2.3 and 20.2 in Downloads.

Graph Image for Proportion of persons 15 years and over, visited a hospital emergency department in the last 12 months

Source(s): Patient Experience Survey: Summary of Findings



As with hospital admissions, visits to the ED are also related to health characteristics, with those who rated their health as fair or poor more than twice as likely to have visited the ED than those who rated their health as excellent, very good or good (27% compared with 12%). Likewise, those with a long term health condition were more than twice as likely to have visited the ED than those without (20% compared with 9%). See Tables 3.2 and 21.2 in Downloads.

People living in areas of most socio-economic disadvantage were more likely to visit the ED than those living in areas of least disadvantage (18% compared with 11%). In addition, those living in outer regional, remote and very remote areas were more likely to visit the ED than those living in major cities (18% compared with 13%). See Tables 3.2 and 21.2 in Downloads.

When people who visited the ED were asked the main reason they went to an ED instead of a GP, nearly half (45%) reported that they were taken by ambulance or the condition was serious, 21% reported a GP was not available when required, 13% reported that the GP did not have the required equipment or facilities, and 11% reported that they were sent to emergency by a GP. People living in outer regional, remote and very remote areas were more likely to report visiting an ED because a GP was not available when required than those living in major cities (28% compared with 18%). Of those who visited an ED for their own health in the last 12 months, 18% thought care could have been provided by a GP. This was a similar rate to 2016-17. See Tables 19, 20.2 and 21.2 in Downloads.

EXPERIENCE WITH HOSPITAL AND EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT DOCTORS/SPECIALISTS AND NURSES

The way a patient is treated by a health professional is an important aspect of their satisfaction with their care. Respondents who had seen a hospital or ED doctor/specialist or nurse were asked for their perceptions on how they were treated.

Of those who were admitted to hospital in the last 12 months, 78% reported that the hospital nurses always listened carefully to them (a decrease from 75% in 2016-17), 81% reported they always showed them respect and 77% reported they always spent enough time with them. The results were slightly lower for hospital doctors and specialists, with 76% reporting that the hospital doctors and specialists always listened carefully to them, 79% reporting they always showed them respect and 74% reporting they always spent enough time with them. See Table 17.2 in Downloads.

Of those who visited an ED in the last 12 months, 75% reported that the ED nurses always listened carefully to them (a decrease of 3 percentage points from 2016-17), 77% reported they always showed them respect and 73% reported they always spent enough time with them. The results were slightly lower for ED doctors and specialists, with 71% reporting that ED doctors and specialists always listened carefully to them, 73% reporting they always showed them respect and 68% reporting they always spent enough time with them. See Table 20.2 in Downloads.

PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE

Private Health Insurance data has been collected periodically in the Patient Experience Survey since 2009-10 and was last collected in 2015-16.


In 2017-18, one in two people (57%) aged 15 years and over had some form of private health insurance (similar to 2015-16) while 43% did not have any type of private health insurance. Nearly one in two people (46%) aged 15 years and over had both hospital and extras cover, one in seventeen (6%) had hospital cover only and one in twenty (5%) had extras cover only. Females were more likely than males to have extras cover only (5% compared with 4%). See Tables 1 and 2.3 in Downloads.



Those who rated their health as excellent, very good or good were more likely to have some form of private health insurance than those who rated their health as fair or poor (60% compared with 40%). Likewise, those without a long term health condition were more likely to have some form of private health insurance than those with a long term health condition (59% compared to 55%). See Table 3.2 in Downloads.

People living in major cities were more likely to have some form of private health insurance than those living in outer regional, remote or very remote areas (60% compared with 49%). See Table 3.2 in Downloads.


Graph Image for Proportion of persons 15 years and over, had private health insurance in the last 12 months

Source(s): Patient Experience Survey: Summary of Findings