Slightly fewer avoiding filling scripts on cost

hand out for money - coins in palm

There has been a small drop in the proportion of Australians delaying filling scripts because of cost – just one finding released by the Productivity Commission in its Report on Government Services 2016.

The Health Volume examined how Government is performing on delivering services in primary and community health, public hospitals and mental health management.

It shows that total spending on health has increased by $1460 per person: $4788 in 2004-05 to $6248 in 2013-4.

Expenditure on PBS items came to $299 per person this year, which represents a drop of $0.8 billion since 2011-12: total expenditure on prescription medicines through the PBS was $7.1 billion over the last year.

Some people are deferring treatment due to financial barriers: an Australia-wide average of 7.6% delayed accessing prescribed medication because of cost. South Australians 8.6%) were the most likely to do so, followed by Queenslanders (8.5%), while only 6 % of people living in the Norther Territory delayed accessing prescription medicines due to financial barriers.

This was an overall drop of 0.3% from the proportion of people facing financial barriers to filling scripts in 2012-13.

Meanwhile, around 5% delayed or did not visit a GP in the previous 12 months because of cost.

The data examined key issues such as vaccination and antibiotic prescribing.

Child immunisation rates remain steady at around 90%, however, notifications of whooping cough continue to rise with 6669 notifications (children aged 0-14 years) up from 3988 in the previous financial year and over 6000 notifications from 2006-07.

In 2014-15, child immunisation rates were 91.3 per cent for 1 year olds, 89.2 per cent for 2 year olds (down from 92.4 in 2013-14) and 92.3 per cent for 5 year olds (an increase of almost ten percentage points from 2007-08).

For people who saw a GP for urgent care, 63.9 per cent waited less than 4 hours, 11.1 per cent waited from 4 to less than 24 hours and 25.0 per cent waited for 24 hours or more. Overall, 20.8 per cent of people who saw a GP for any reason waited longer than they felt was acceptable to get an appointment.

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