Accessibility issues causing higher emergency presentations

Thursday, 23 May 2024
Mt Isa Hospital Emergency entrance sign

National Rural Health Alliance Chairperson Nicole O’Reilly told The Canberra Times that lack of access to primary healthcare services was the likely cause for higher rates of presentations at emergency departments in rural areas than in cities.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data, for every 1,000 regional Australians who attended the emergency department, 159 were triaged as semi-urgent or non-urgent.

"Not being able to access primary health care services in rural and remote areas could mean people tend to end up being sicker before they seek help or it may be that the primary health care services aren't available," Ms O'Reilly said.

She said metropolitan areas were also more likely to have urgent care services outside of emergency departments and added that in rural and remote Australia there are fewer GPs per population.

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