It is important to understand the access to and use of health services to evaluate whether the health system is adequately meeting the needs of Indigenous children.
Health service availability
In 2018–19, among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 5–14:
- 83% (151,500) had access to a doctor/General practitioner (GP) in their local area (other than from Aboriginal Medical Service).
- Those in living in non-remote areas (90% or 136,000) were more likely to have access to a doctor/GP (other than from Aboriginal Medical Services) than those living in remote areas (51% or 15,900).
- Those living in remote areas (86% or 26,700) were more likely to have access to an Aboriginal Medical Service/Community Clinic than those living in non-remote areas (65% or 97,700) (Figure CH 22).
Health service use
In 2018–19, 29% (53,300) of Indigenous children aged 5–14 used a health service in the last 2 weeks. The most common type of health service use was consulting a GP (14% or 25,800) (Figure CH 23).
Indigenous-specific health checks
All Indigenous Australians are eligible for Indigenous-specific health checks and referrals for Indigenous-specific follow-up services that are subsidised by Medicare.
In 2018–19, 28% (79,158) of Indigenous children aged 0–14 had an Indigenous-specific health check. Indigenous children aged 0–4 were slightly more likely to have a health check (31% or 29,534) than Indigenous children aged 5–14 (27% or 49,624) (Figure CH 24).
In 2016–17, among Indigenous Australians aged 1–14:
- There were 34,089 hospitalisations (including dialysis) for Indigenous children aged 1–14, a rate of 133.0 per 1,000 population.
- The rate of hospitalisations (including dialysis) for Indigenous boys was 145.5 per 1,000 population (19,084 hospitalisations).
- The rate of hospitalisations (including dialysis) for Indigenous girls was 119.9 per 1,000 population (15,000 hospitalisations) (Figure CH 25).