Healthy Communities : Australians' experience with primary health care in 2010-11

The second National Health Performance Authority (NHPA) Healthy Communities report, Australians' experience with primary health care in 2010-11, has been released. The report confirms that where people live "has a noticeable impact on whether they will get (GP) care when they need it, within acceptable waiting times, and at a price they can afford". There is also great intra-area variation. However, the findings also show that when patients do get in to see a GP, their perceptions of care can be quite positive.

For most measures, the results are broken down into the 61 geographic areas that are covered by the new network of Medicare Locals, which were set up in 2011 to improve responsiveness, co-ordination and integration of health services. Where possible, results are broken down by still smaller geographic areas. The report examines use, patient experiences and the perceived health of populations living in each Medicare Local area against a range of indicators, including:

* GP attendances
* Measures of patient experiences
* Wait times for GP services
* After-hours GP service utilisation.

NHPA: The methods are good, but the findings grim (NRHA)

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