Australian Journal of Primary Health Australian Journal of Primary Health Society
The issues influencing community health services and primary health care

Just Accepted

This article has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication. It is in production and has not been edited, so may differ from the final published form.

Multiple Health Conditions and Barriers to Health Care Among Older Australians: Prevalence, Reasons and Types of Barriers

JEROMEY TEMPLE , Ruth Williams


Accompanying population ageing is an increase in the number of older Australians living with multiple health conditions and disabilities (AIHW 2014). We seek to examine the barriers to accessing health care faced by this growing group of older Australians. Utilising the 2014 ABS General Social Survey, we find six per cent of respondents aged 50 years and over reported experiencing a barrier to accessing health care within the previous 12 months. Those with multiple health conditions are at a considerably higher risk of experiencing a barrier to health care (21% of those with 4 or more disabilities reported experiencing a barrier to health care) compared with people with no or fewer health conditions, and this risk persists once wide ranging control variables are included. Long waiting times or unavailability of appointments (43%) were the main type of barriers to accessing health care, followed by cost (23%). The points of care barriers were most prevalent in regard to accessing GPs and specialists. However, people with multiple health conditions also had greater points of care access difficulties in the hospital sector relative to those with no or fewer conditions. Those who had experienced a barrier were more likely to have low levels of trust in the health care system compared with people who had no experience of barriers to health care, and were also more likely to have a perception of experiencing discrimination or unfair treatment in a health care setting.

PY17038  Accepted 05 September 2017

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