Chronic disease detection and management
- There has been a significant increase in a range of Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) services claimed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples for identifying and managing chronic disease since the introduction of the Indigenous Chronic Disease Package under the National Partnership on Closing the Gap in Indigenous Health Outcomes.
- Although the number of health assessments provided each year has been increasing steadily, the increase is significantly greater since July 2009 than in previous years (see Figure 4 below).
- There has also been an increase in the number of GP management plans and team care arrangements claimed by Indigenous Australians through Medicare over this period. Rates are higher for these services for Indigenous Australians than non-Indigenous Australians. There has also been a corresponding increase in a range of allied health items linked to health assessments and management plans/team care arrangements including a number of other allied health services and dental services (with 98% of these dental services bulk billed).
Figure 4—Rate per 1,000 persons receiving Medicare Benefits Schedule Health Assessments, by age group, Indigenous Australians, 2006 to 2011
Access to prescription medicines
- The National Partnership Agreement on Closing the Gap in Indigenous Health Outcomes has increased access to pharmaceuticals. Up to 30 June 2012, 150,005 eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients have benefited from the Closing the Gap Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) Co-payment Measure and 5,127 (96%) pharmacies have participated in the measure. A prescription volume of 2,729,929 has been dispensed since the measure commenced in July 2010.Top of page
Increased availability of Indigenous-specific services
- Australian Government Indigenous-specific health program expenditure increased from $115 million in 1995–96 to $624 million in 2010–11, a growth in real terms of 265%. There has been a 96% increase in episodes of care delivered through Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health care services (from 1.22 million in 1999–2000 to 2.5 million in 2010–11).
Usual source of care
- Having a usual primary care provider is associated with good communication between the patient and provider, greater trust in the health care provider, improved preventive care and better health outcomes. Statistics from 2004–05 indicate that 91% of Indigenous Australians usually went to the same GP or Aboriginal medical service.
- In 2008, 80% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged 15 years and over agreed that their doctor could be trusted.
- The proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women accessing antenatal care at least once during pregnancy has increased in NSW, Qld and SA combined between 1998 and 2009. In 2009, 97% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women accessed antenatal care at least once during their pregnancy.
Immunisation coverage for children
- Immunisation rates are high for Indigenous children. By 2 years of age, coverage rates are close to those for other Australian children (92.3% of Indigenous children compared with 92.6% for other children).
- On a per capita basis, average health expenditure for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in 2008–09 was $1.39 for every $1.00 spent per non-Indigenous Australian. This has increased since 1995–96 where the rate was $1.08 per $1.00.