01 April 2019

LSAC Annual Statistical Report 2017: Children’s use of health care services

This chapter used data collected between 2004 and 2014 to provide a snapshot of how health care services are used; problems accessing health services; and how children’s use of health services differs depending on characteristics such as household income, parental education, private health insurance coverage, location and parents’ reports of the general health of the child. The levels of use of health care services and  health service needs changed as children got older. Use of some services, such as dental services, which can incur significant out-of-pocket expenses, are related to household income and private health insurance coverage. In the early years of childhood, and also when children are in primary school, parents' education is a significant factor related to children's use of health services, as is whether a language other than English is spoken at home, or if families live in regional or remote areas. In the early years of childhood, the most common injuries were cuts and scrapes, but as children got older, medical attention for broken bones and sprains and strains became more common and for teenage boys, concussions were an issue of concern. Difficulties accessing health services were more common among families in regional and remote areas, for families in the lowest quartile of equivalised income, lack of  knowledge about how to access services among families with young children and those who spoke a language other than English.