Survey shows more people in Australia are seeing multiple medical professionals


Sarah Peddie

The amount of people in Australia who were seeing multiple health professionals for the same condition increased in 2019/20, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The results of a survey of patient experiences were released today (Monday, November 16) by ABS and it revealed that the proportion of people throughout the country seeing three or more health professionals for the same condition had increased over the past year. 

ABS health statistics spokesperson, Robert Long, confirmed that 16.6 percent of people saw three or more health professionals for the same condition over the past year compared to 15.1 percent in 2018/19 - a 1.5 percent increase.

He stated: “Of these people, around seven in ten people (71.9 percent) reported that at least one health professional helped coordinate their care, and only 14.3 percent reported issues caused by a lack of communication between health professionals.”

The survey also showed that GPs are the most frequently seen medical professionals by patients. 

“More than eight in ten people (83.2 percent) saw a GP at least once, similar to last year (82.8 percent).

“As you would expect, older people (85 years and over) were more likely to see a GP (98.3 percent) than those aged 15 to 24 years (70.9 percent).”

The survey also showed that people with long-term health conditions were more likely to see a GP than those without a long-term condition. 

Results also stated that there was a two percent increase with Australians delaying or not seeing a dental professional when needed compared to last year. 

Mr Long said: “This could be related to restrictions imposed in response to COVID-19, with dental services affected during the pandemic.

“Although the survey did not explicitly ask about the impacts of COVID-19, it is possible that the impact of COVID-19 restrictions contributed to an increase in people reporting ‘Other’ as the main reason they did not see a dental professional when needed (11.0 percent compared to 8.2 percent in 2018-19).”

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