The uptake of Better Access has been substantial. The age–standardised uptake rate of any MBS-subsidised Better Access item was 33.8 persons per 1,000 total population (3.4% of the total population or 710,840 persons) in 2007, rising to 44.5 persons per 1,000 in 2008 (4.4% of the total population or 951,454 persons), and further to 52.8 persons per 1,000 total population in 2009 (5.3% of the total population or 1,130,384 persons) (Table 3.1). Expressed another way, one in every 30 Australians received at least one Better Access service in 2007, one in every 23 did so in 2008, and one in every 19 did so in 2009.

Table 3.1 shows that Better Access uptake increased annually by 31.7% between 2007 and 2008, and by 18.7% between 2008 and 2009. The magnitude and statistical significance of trends in uptake rates for Better Access, were further examined via a series of negative binomial regression models (see section 2.3.4 of this report for further information). Specifically, these analyses were used to estimate the trends in uptake of Better Access services since the introduction of the initiative, and to identify whether there has been a change in trend as the initiative has become more established. The period of interest for these analyses was from the March 2007 quarter (the first full quarter of Better Access operation) to the end of the March 2010 quarter (the most recent data available to us). The period of establishment of Better Access (defined as the 2007 calendar year, the first year of operation) was compared with the period post–establishment (defined as being from 2008 onwards).

Figure 3.1 plots the growth in rates of uptake by quarter from the December 2006 quarter to the March 2010 quarter. This shows that that the rate of uptake of any Better Access item rose from 10.4 per 1,000 total population in the March 2007 quarter to 23.0 per 1,000 in the March 2010 quarter.

Table 3.2 presents the results of the trend analyses. During 2007, uptake showed an average quarterly increase of 13.3% (RR = 1.133, 95% CI 1.090 to 1.177, P < 0.001). Uptake was still increasing after 2007, but slowed to 4.6% per quarter (RR = 1.046, 95% CI 1.036 to 1.056, P < 0.001). This decrease in growth was statistically significant (RR = 0.924, 95% CI 0.890–0.958, P ≤ 0.001).

Table 3.1 Persons receiving MBS–subsidised Better Access services, 2007, 2008 and 2009

Table 3.1 is presented as a list in this HTML version for accessibility reasons. It is presented as a table in the PDF version.

All Better Access items:
  • 2007 N persons - 710,840
  • 2007 % of persons - 100.0
  • 2007 Rate (per 1,000) - 3..8
  • 2008 N persons - 951,454
  • 2008 % of persons - 100.0
  • 2008 Rate (per 1,000) - 44.5
  • 2009 N persons - 1,130,384
  • 2009 % of persons - 100.0
  • 2009 Rate (per 1,000) - 52.8

2007 and 2008 figures have regard to all claims processed up to and including 30 April 2009; 2009 figures have regard to all claims processed up to and including 30 April 2010.
Rate per 1,000 total population; Rates are directly age–standardised.

Table 3.2 Estimated change in trends for uptake of MBS–subsidised Better Access services, March 2007 quarter to March 2010 quarter

Table 3.2 is presented as a list in this HTML version for accessibility reasons. It is presented as a table in the PDF version.

All Better Access items:
  • Trend in year 2007 RR (95% CI) - 1.113 (1.090-1.177)
    • P - <0.001
  • Trend after 2007 RR (95% CI) - 1.046 (1.036-1.056)
    • P - <0.001
  • Ratio of trendsa RR (95% CI) - 0.924 (0.890-0.958)
    • P - 0.001
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2007 and 2008 figures have regard to all claims processed up to and including 30 April 2009; 2009 figures have regard to all claims processed up to and including 30 April 2010.
RR, rate ratio; CI, confidence interval.
a The ratio of the post–2007 trend to the 2007 trend.

Fig 3.1 Uptake of any Better Access item by quarter, December 2006 quarter to March 2010 quarter.

Text equivalent below for Fig 3.1 Uptake of any Better Access item by quarter, December 2006 quarter to March 2010 quarter.

Text version of Fig 3.1

Figures in this description are approximate as they have been read from the graph.

Uptake of any Better Access item by quarter, December 2006 quarter to March 2010 quarter (rate per 1,000 population):
  • December 2006 - 5
  • March 2007 - 10
  • June 2007 - 13
  • September 2007 - 14.5
  • December 2007 -15
  • March 2008 - 15.5
  • June 2008 - 17.5
  • September - 19
  • December 2008 - 19.5
  • March 2009 - 20.5
  • June 2009 - 22
  • September - 23
  • December 2009 - 22.5
  • March 2010 - 23