While this report focuses on one dataset, being Medicare data, rather than multiple datasets, the following insights still hold significant interest.
Of note in the report:
Of the 25 million Medicare-subsidised allied health services provided in 2021–22:
- The most common type of service was optometry (9.9 million).
- Podiatry accounted for around 3.5 million services, compared with psychology which accounted for around 6.6 million services, and physiotherapy at 2.8 million services (AIHW 2022a).
In 2021–22, 37% of Australians received at least one Medicare-subsidised allied health service (AIHW 2022a). In Australia in 2021–22:
- Females (43%) were more likely to see an allied health professional than males (32%) and received more Medicare-subsidised services per person (1.2, compared with 0.8 for males).
- The number of allied health Medicare-subsidised services per person increased with age and was highest for those aged 80 and over (2.4 services per person).
- People living in metropolitan PHN areas received more Medicare-subsidised allied health services for mental health care (0.3 per person), than those living in regional PHN areas (0.2 per person) (AIHW 2022a).
In addition to Medicare-subsidised services, allied health services are accessed and funded through many arrangements, such as those subsidised by private health insurance or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
The majority of this expenditure was for:
- GP attendances ($9.1 billion, or 53%)
- Diagnostic imaging ($4.0 billion, or 23%)
- Specialist attendances ($2.3 billion, or 13%)
- Allied health ($1.8 billion, or 10%).
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