(Australian Associated Press)
One in four Australians aged over 45 skip visiting a doctor when they need one.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data released on Tuesday shows lack of availability and cost as the main reasons.
Half the patient group said they couldn’t get an appointment with a GP in 2016 when they needed to.
One in eight also skipped seeing a specialist because it cost too much and half avoided doing so for the same reason.
For Australians in rural and regional areas, 20 per cent didn’t have nearby access to a GP, with 60 per cent without access to a nearby specialist.
People with even higher health needs were about three times more likely to avoid seeing a GP or specialist despite their worse condition.
Women and people whose main language wasn’t English were more likely to skip the GP.
The report said people being unable to access the GP on time could lead to increased emergency department use.
It pointed to a previous study citing older Australians were unnecessarily using hospitals after being unable to get an appointment with a GP.