Patient satisfaction with GPs continues to rate highly, with 94 per cent of Australian adults thinking their doctor shows respect for what they say, and 91 per cent saying their GP always or often spends enough time with them.
Evidently the primary care being provided is serving the purpose, with 86 per cent of adults reporting their health to be excellent, very good or good. Some 81 per cent of all adults had seen a GP in the past year, according to the 2017-2018 patient experience figures released by the Australian Institute of Health & Welfare.
Less pleasing is the high number of people who say high costs mean they avoid or delay filling a prescription and need to put off visiting the dentist.
In some parts of metro and regional areas the decision to delay filling a prescription has risen by up to 50 per cent over the past three years, the AIHW found. This is despite PBS subsidies for most prescribed medications.
Health analysts say that delaying professionally prescribed treatment – Australian doctors write around 120 million scripts per year – is likely to have significant implications for a person’s health as well as an impact on the health system at large as their condition may worsen and necessitate higher level treatment, including hospital care.
The costs of private dental care, along with the lack of Medicare support and long public dental waits, continues to have a major impact on both oral health and on associated conditions, for instance cardiac disease.
Nationally, almost one-in-five people needing dental care were found to have postponed or avoided the dentist in the past 12 months due to cost.