Independent News For The Australian Public Service
Edition Number 410. Updated Tuesday, 20 May 2014

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Diagnosis mixed for health-care quality

A new report from Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has found room for improvement in the delivery of quality health care across Australia, despite many indicators revealing good results.

In its report, OECD health-care quality indicators in Australia 2011-12, AIHW profiles the information Australia provided to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 2013 on the quality of primary care, hospital acute care and mental health-care, as well as information on cancer care, hospital patient safety and patient experience.

"While differences in data collection practices and data quality can make international comparisons challenging, there is no doubt that Australia is doing well on most counts, but there is room for improvement in some areas," spokesperson at AIHW, Nigel Harding said.

Report finds room for improvement

Quality in primary care was measured by rates of avoidable hospital admissions for particular health conditions.

In 2011, avoidable hospital admission rates for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in Australia were around 50 per cent higher than the OECD average, according to the report.

Avoidable admission rates for diabetes were similar to or better than the OECD average.

For quality indicators in hospital acute care, Australia's death rate following hospital admissions for heart attacks was lower than the OECD average, similar to the OECD average for haemorrhagic stroke, but higher than the average for ischaemic stroke.

"Australia performed well when looking at the indicators for cancer care, from 2001-06 to 2006-11, five-year survival rates for cervical, breast and colorectal cancers were better in Australia than the OECD averages," Mr Harding said.

The mental health-care indicators related to unplanned hospital readmissions for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and were higher in Australia than the OECD average for both indicators.

The full report is available at this PS News link.

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