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Health services

Use of health services

Health service use, at the individual level, can depend on a number of factors including current health issues, perceived need for services, health beliefs, health literacy, previous experiences with the health system and the ability to access services when needed. It is important to note, however, that service use statistics are unable to capture people who may have needed a service but were unable to access it (AIHW 2022c). For more information refer to the Access relative to need.

In terms of health system performance for Indigenous Australians, some aspects have improved over the last decade. There are still however, barriers affecting access, with disparities seen in Indigenous Australians level of access compared with non-Indigenous Australians. Improvements in health system performance for Indigenous Australians include:

  • increases in the number of services providing primary health care to Indigenous Australians
  • an increase in Indigenous women accessing antenatal care in their first trimester of pregnancy
  • increases in the rates of Indigenous health checks and use of general practitioner (GP) management plans for chronic diseases
  • increased access to hospital procedures, however, Indigenous Australians are less likely than non-Indigenous Australians to receive a medical or surgical procedure (AIHW 2022d).