Central Queensland residents are less likely to seek treatment from a medical specialist than any other rural populated area of Australia due to financial concerns.
Central Queensland residents are less likely to seek treatment from a medical specialist than any other rural populated area of Australia due to financial concerns. Chris Ison

CQ residents grin and bear ills, new health figures show

CENTRAL Queensland residents are less likely to seek treatment from a medical specialist than any other rural populated area of Australia, according to new statistics released yesterday.

The report, Healthy Communities: Australians' experiences with access to health care in 2011-12, showed that of all people in CQ in need of a medical specialist, 10% of those avoided or delayed it due to financial concerns.

This is significantly high when compared to areas with similar socio-economic circumstances like country north South Australia where cost was only an issue for 3% of their population.

The report also showed that cost was a factor in preventing 28% of Central Queenslanders from seeing a dentist or hygienist.

However, Central Queensland was not alone with their poor figures.

National Health Performance Authority CEO Dr Diane Watson said the percentage of adults with long-term health conditions varied from 34% to 60%, which suggested that Medicare Locals faced different challenges in ensuring health care is responsive to the needs of people in their local areas.

"For each of these measures, the local populations in parts of the country where people have the poorest health were no more likely to have seen a doctor or dentist in the past year," Dr Watson said.

"(The report) charts experiences before Medicare Locals were established. It does not reflect their performance to date, but is instead a starting point to inform their early work in these 61 communities."

The report also revealed 16% to 35% of adults referred to a medical specialist felt they waited longer than acceptable for their appointment.

Visit myhealthycommunities.gov.au for the report.



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