Department of Family and Community Services

3.2 Difficulties in accessing health care

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 Unacceptable waiting times for medical professionals

Current position

Nearly 30 percent of NSW women experienced unacceptable waiting times to see a GP for urgent medical care, compared to 24 percent of men in 2011-12.

Among people referred to a specialist in the last 12 months, the percentages who experienced unacceptable waiting times to see a specialist were 27 percent for women and 23 percent for men.

Gender gap

There is a 6 percent gap in experiencing unacceptable waiting times for GPs and a 4 percent gap for specialists.

The direction of
change over time
There is no comparable data.
Discussion

GP waiting times were the most common problem cited by women who experienced difficulties accessing health care in last year’s Report. The ABS data drawn on this year also reports people experiencing unacceptable waiting times for GP and medical specialist care.

As well as the gender gap noted above, a clear geographic gradient is evident. One and a half times the number of women in outer regional, remote and very remote areas experienced unacceptable waiting times for GPs (48 percent) and specialists (43 percent) compared to women in major cities (28 and 26 percent respectively).

See Figure 2.4.

The data source for this indicator has changed from last year because NSW Health Patient Survey data is not currently available. In the ABS survey used this year, the figures relate to people who saw a GP in the last 12 months for urgent medical care for their own health or who were referred to a medical specialist in the last 12 months for their own health.

Year collected: 2011-12.
Data source: ABS (2013) Patient Experiences in Australia, 2011-12. Cat no. 4839.0, unpublished data for NSW.
More information is available at www.abs.gov.au

Figure 2.4 Longer than acceptable doctor waiting times by location, NSW women, 2012

Fig 2.4

Population: Women 15 years and over who used medical services for urgent medical care for their own health, or were referred to health services in the last 12 months.
Data source: ABS (2013) Patient Experiences in Australia, 2011-12. Cat no. 4839.0, unpublished data for NSW.